“Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” vs. 20
At first Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain” as remembered by Luke seems similar to Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, but it soon becomes apparent that the message is radically different. Not only does Jesus modify his description of those who are blessed, he adds a series of woes that make us squirm in our seats. In Luke Jesus calls out the listeners who are poor, hungry, weeping, and abused and promises that there will be a great reversal. One day they will be rich, full, laughing, and honored. Most of us are pretty okay with that promise–it’s good to know that the less fortunate will one day experience material blessings. We’re less comfortable when Jesus turns his attention to those currently experiencing prosperity, a group that would probably include most people in our congregations. “Alas for you,” he says to us, “the tide is about to turn!” And it’s not like this is an isolated passage in Luke’s gospel. Again and again we read Jesus’ harsh words for the rich and prosperous. It’s important for us to hear those words of woe and take time to consider what they might mean in our comfortable lives. Have we indeed sold out to the culture and put our relationship to Jesus in jeopardy? What is the relationship between spiritual poverty and material prosperity? Big questions, no easy answers!
Thought for the Day: What blessings could possibly come with being poor and hungry?