Luke six is a chapter full of profound topics and amazing lessons, especially since it contains the Beautitudes. I could write several posts on this chapter alone-and I may- but for today I want to dive into verses 20 through 26. Let’s begin with the first four verses:
“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
‘Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” – Luke 6:20-23
These verses paint a picture of what it’s like to truly follow Christ. Blessed are they who suffer in his name! These verses go against everything we are taught. Growing up, even in a Christian home, we are typically taught the need for financial security and for safety. We’re taught that a hard life is a bad life, and we fear the slightest hint of discomfort. But here we see something quite different. Jesus doesn’t apologize or say “Suffer only if you must.” No, he says “Blessed are those who weep, for you shall laugh.” He tells us to rejoice when we are hated and reviled because we will have a great reward in heaven.
It is so easy to get focused on the here and now and forget that we have something so amazing waiting for us when we die. I love Francis Chan’s analogy of life being an infinite rope, and only the first inch represents our life on Earth. The rest is all of eternity. We get so focused on the here and now without even thinking about the amazing life we have to look forward afterward.
Think of it like this: If you were moving to a new city, and you knew that you were going to have to move again in about a year, would you buy a mansion? Would you spend all your money to get the nicest, biggest house in the best neighborhood with a pool and all the latest luxuries? Of course not! No, you’d rent a small apartment or something inexpensive and not go and buy a bunch of big furniture and appliances that you can’t ship to the next place you move. Anything else wouldn’t make sense.
So why do we do the same thing? Think about it. Compared to eternity, we’re only here for a short time and poof, we’re gone. Done, game over. We can’t take our house or our money or our nice car with us. Even if we did it wouldn’t matter. It doesn’t make sense to spend all this time trying to earn money and gain popularity that we know will just be gone in an instant. I the next few verses Jesus warns us against chasing after these things.
“‘But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
‘Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
‘Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
‘Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” – Luke 6:24-26
Woe to you. Woe to you! Aren’t these all the things we chase after? Even as Christians, these things are considered perfectly good things to want. We chase after money, comfort, happiness, and popularity. All of these things seem good and even harmless, but they are a deadly trap.
Notice the ending here: “for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” In the beginning, he likened those who are poor and hungry to the prophets, but now he compares the rich and successful to the false prophets. Everyone hated the prophets. We may look back now and think they were wise and great men, but in their time they were looked down upon. I mean, think about it. How many of the prophets preached about good, prosperous times to come? How many warned of famine and destruction and death? They weren’t well liked. On the other hand, the false prophets who claimed to speak in the name of God and told the people of good times to come were well liked by everyone. Everybody likes to be told they were right, after all.
Sure, the false prophets had it easy, but God’s prophets had a far greater reward waiting for them. “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” Sure, being a Christian may be a lot harder than just being like everyone else, but think beyond right now. If you choose to live like the rest of the world, you’ll probably have a nice life and live comfortably, but what happens the moment you leave this world? Is comfort for a few years really worth eternity?
Think about it, we have the opportunity to serve the One who created all the stars in the universe with His bare hands, and He crafted each and every soul with careful detail before time began. What better cause could I possibly apply my life to than to serve this Person who, despite all His power, still smiles when I talk to Him? I want to spend my entire life telling everyone I can how amazing this God is! Nothing else is worth my time. Nothing else compares.
“Dreams are tawdry when compared with the leading of God, and not worthy of the aura of wonder we usually surround them with. God only doeth wonders. He does nothing else. His hand can work nothing less.”― Jim Elliot