Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: 2nd Sun After Pentecost, Beatitudes
Volume 8 No. 483 June 1, 2018
II. Lectionary Reflections: Luke 6:12-23

Text: Luke 6:12-23
Text: Luke 6:12-23 (NIV)

The Twelve Apostles

12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Blessings and Woes

17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

The Joys of Being Poor, Hungry and Hated

by Brian Evans

Gospel: Luke 6: 20-26

Poor, Hungry, and Hated

Jesus is beginning His first discipleship lesson for the Apostles, the great number of Disciples and the great Multitude. This is the Apostle's first Disciple Hour lesson.

Here in Luke, Jesus begins explaining to His Apostles and to us the radical difference between Kingdom Life and secular life. His point is that if we're going to be God's children we must be properly instructed as to what God desires from each one of us. Our value system used to be that of the secular world around us but now it has to change. To be a part of God's Kingdom means that His subjects live differently than the secular world around them. We must have a God centered worldview. God has different priorities than does the world system around us. God has different purposes than the world has. If we are saved then God has placed us into His Kingdom and we must begin living by His standards not by the ones from our former kingdom. Jesus knows this. He also knows that living for God's glory and by His standards doesn't happen automatically or come naturally. We all must be taught what God desires from His people and then begin the hard work of conforming and submitting our lives to His sovereign rule.

In this first lesson, Jesus is going to pronounce a blessing on those people who are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated. Immediately we see that there is something radical here. From the world's standards those are the very people who are not blessed. Our culture would say that the rich, full, happy and liked are the folks who have been blessed.

Jesus says something else; to make sure we understand that He's not mistaken, He says the same thing in a negative way. What He does is declare woes, which is the opposite of blessed, on the ones who are rich, full, happy, and liked.

Ultimately, the question is…Will you be happy with the world's riches or will you hold out for a greater treasure, namely, Jesus Christ?

Please hear God's authoritative and inerrant Word…

Luke 6:20-26 (ESV)

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. [21] "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. [22] "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! [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

[24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

[25] "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

"Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. [26] "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

So ends this portion of God's Word may He use it to accomplish His purposes in all our lives.

1. Christ Centered Poverty

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…[24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

The first thing we should understand is that Jesus is not saying that all poor people are blessed. What He is saying is that His poor disciples are blessed. This is poverty accompanied by grace. This is being poor in worldly possessions but being rich toward God. This is forsaking an earthly treasure and laying up treasure in heaven. This type of poverty is making wise investments in eternity.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples and Apostles and declaring a blessing on them because they have made certain sacrifices from a worldly standard to be one of His students. From a monetary perspective they have given up much to follow Christ. So Jesus is encouraging them to continue because while they may be poor now on earth, in heaven they're rich.

Jesus also doesn't say, poor in spirit as He does on the Sermon on the Mount. He has a different purpose here and a different point to make. Here, He is speaking about money. He is speaking in terms of wealth. There are two types of wealth spoken of on the Scriptures. One can be wealthy while on earth and one can be wealthy in heaven. Rarely does one receive both. So, we must ask ourselves, are we rich toward God? Have we laid up treasure in heaven? Have we made wise investments? Or are our investments of a temporal nature, only for here and now?

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, [20] but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Have a heavenly bank account. Have a heavenly treasure chest. Jesus wants us all to be wise investors and to not invest in things that will not yield an eternal profit.

He also shows what poor investing looks like…

[24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

To His disciples, He passes eternal blessing. He declares them blessed not because they gave up everything to follow Him, but in the giving up their true nature is seen. They are genuine and giving up everything to follow Him is proof that their treasure is not to be found in earthly riches but in heavenly riches.

In the same way, Jesus passes eternal judgment on all who find their treasure in earthly things and not in Him.

These folks are driven to seek monetary wealth. Their treasure is to be found on earth. This is their purpose in life, to acquire wealth. Jesus says that they are receiving the benefits here and now on their earthly investments. They are receiving a return now so there will not be an eternal return.

These folks who long for riches now are also showing where their allegiance lies. They have no desire to lay up treasure in heaven and are satisfied with an earthly treasure.

Then Jesus passes eternal judgment when He declares a woe on them. Literally, cursed are you if you seek happiness in monetary wealth.

2. Christ Centered Hunger

[21] "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied…[25] "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

Luke is dealing with physical hunger. Where in Matthew's report of the Sermon on the Mount, he writes, hungers for righteousness.

In this world a disciple may suffer for righteousness sake. A disciple may need to make some extreme choices in order to follow Christ. In the first century this was especially true. To follow Christ meant often times one would be hungry.

Jesus is encouraging the disciple to keep going. Don't cave in because you're doing so well. Remember, you may be hungry now, but there is coming a day when God will forever satisfy you with riches untold and you will never be hungry ever again.

This promise is mainly focused on the Kingdom when it arrives in its fullness. The great banquet feast is an example of never being hungry ever again.

Psalm 107:3-9 (ESV)

and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

[4] Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;

[5] hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.

[6] Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.

[7] He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.

[8] Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of men!

[9] For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

3. Christ Centered Sadness

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh…”Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

Jesus knew that these disciples would be put to the test. He is building strong persevering men and women. He is getting them ready because poverty, hunger, and weeping are coming their way and He doesn't want them to be surprised when it does.

When events in our lives cause sadness remember this life is only a vapor compared to eternity and this life is lived in the realm of sinfulness and in the realm of the curse.

2 Cor. 4:16-18 (ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. [17] For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Think biblically about sadness and even use it to remind yourself that in heaven no one will ever be sad again. Lord, thank you for this real reminder that the best is yet to come.

Always remember, Jesus is not saying everyone who weeps is blessed; only those who weep and are in Christ are blessed.

4. Christ Centered Affections

[22] "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! [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets…[26] "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Jesus is using the secular world as the litmus test for kingdom blessings. If the lost world hates you because of the Gospel then you have a great reward coming your way in the kingdom. God will reward you.

Remember, Jesus isn't saying that everyone who is hated will receive a reward, only those who are hated because of Jesus and the Gospel. When the day comes when people hate you because of the Son of Man, leap for joy because your reward is great in heaven.

Then He says, this is exactly what they did to God's prophets in the OT. Why did the lost people hate the prophets? They hated them because they stood up and spoke the words God had them to speak. They called people to repentance and faith and for the most part the people didn't want to repent and did want faith, so they were hated.

The false prophets, on the other hand, were adored by the people because they spoke soothing words to their ears. Their lies were exactly what people wanted to hear. The people loved them and held them in high esteem for their good sounding flattery.

If all people are speaking well of you, if it's your goal to be liked…if the fear of man causes you to cave in and let people have their way and let them think that everything is alright with their souls, then you will be liked but you will be cursed for all eternity. False prophets should enjoy their lives now as much as possible because the life to come will be a life of weeping and suffering.

We should pause and consider how we're doing. Are we poor, hungry, and hated because of the Gospel or are we rich, fill, and liked?

Let's get to the heart of what Jesus is getting at as we consider these issues. Jesus' truth taught is we must be willing to give up everything if need be for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. It is possible to have this attitude if we understand that in reality we're not giving anything up at all. We are trading temporal comfort for eternal joy.

Satan's desire is to get us to love the things of this world supremely, Jesus, on the other hand, is telling us the truth, we must love Him supremely.

When the Fall took place and Adam and Eve allowed the serpent to deceive them, the earth and everything in it was cursed. Satan's goal is to get us to love the things of this cursed world more than we love the things of the world to come. He wants us to love things that are cursed by God more than the things blessed by God. When we find ourselves longing for riches etc of this world, we're really telling God that we would rather have temporary cursed things than the wonderful eternal blessed things He has waiting for us.

Satan has a counterfeit life that he promotes as being greater than the real blessed life God has in store for us as His children.

Jesus wants us to learn that while things of this world look really good they are not really good. He really wants us to see what the good life looks like vs. what looks like the good life but really isn't.—Duncan

Jesus is building a Kingdom army that is ready for struggles of this world. He is amassing a people who will not fall for the schemes of Satan. He is putting together genuine disciples who when given the choice between riches now or riches later are wise investors and hold out for real riches and don't fall for the fake stuff Satan has.

Remember, as believers this is not our real home. Our real home is in heaven. Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God and God's ways are not the ways of this current fallen, cursed world.

I pray you're living by kingdom realities now even though its fullness is yet to be seen.

In the Meantime

by Prof. David Lose

Gospel: Luke 6:20-26

Then he looked up at 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 will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. "Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets."

This is the part of Jesus' sermon that probably rings most familiar to many of us. It's called the "beatitudes" because of the constant refrain of blessing.

Luke's account is a little different from the better known version Matthew offers. In these passages, for instance, Luke is a little more concrete, a little more focused on those who are in actual need. So while Matthew records Jesus as blessing those who are "poor in spirit" and "hunger and thirst for righteousness," in Luke Jesus attends to the more immediate and physical dimension of our lives: blessed are you "who are poor" and "who are hungry now."

Moreover, whereas Matthew has only blessings, Luke also adds "woes" or warnings to those who are rich and full and content and, apparently, have little regard for those who are doing without.

Why the differences? Some – particularly those who place a high value on the factual accuracy of the Bible – will argue that Jesus, like many a good preacher, is simply recycling material. He's preaching the same sermon twice, adapting each to a different context. (Of course then you have a story that none of the Evangelists wrote.)

But I find it more helpful to remember that the gospels are always as much or more confession as they are history. That is, as we saw from the very beginning of Luke's story, he is offering his "orderly account" in order to confirm his community in what they have learned about Jesus. And a big part of what Luke wants to teach his community about Jesus is that the poor matter. That God loves all people but has a special concern for those who are suffering – the hungry, the poor, those who mourn, those who are excluded. We saw that in Mary's rebel song about feeding the hungry and turning away the rich and in Jesus' inaugural address where he announced the year of the Lord's favor to those who were captive, blind, lame, and more. Jesus, that is, has come for those in need – real physical, emotional, concrete need.

And Luke's not about to soften that…not even to make us feel better.


Dear God, make us mindful of those with less; more than that, use us to demonstrate your love and special concern for all those who suffer. In Jesus' name,

Is There Ever A Dull Moment?

by Fr. Alfonse

Gospel: Luke 6:20-26

Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours…Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Life is amazing! It is full of surprises. But we often forget that the same surprise can be both good and bad; a blessing and a curse; sweet and bitter.

Beauty is a gift. But it is also a curse. Wealth brings people together. It can also keep them apart. Love is joyful. But it is also painful. Poverty can be a blessing just as much as plenty can be a curse! Friends can keep me all together. But they can also tear me apart. Being much talked about can quickly turn into being much gossiped about!

Is there ever a dull moment?

Sometimes it just feels like you can’t win! I went to a birthday party and was surprised by the reaction of a seven-year-old when his uncle handed him a five dollar bill. The child looked at it and then turned to him and said, “But I already have one!!!” I thought to myself, “Boy, at that age, I may not have been able to add apples together, but I definitely knew how to add money together!”

It seems like there’s no winning, ever.

How quickly peace can elude us. How quickly a dark thought can invade us.
Today’s Gospel paints an even bleaker picture of life. If you are poor, then you are blessed. If you are rich, then beware! What is going on? Is there ever a peaceful moment?

There is. But it takes faith. It takes realism. It takes preparation. It takes vision.

The world took billions of years to establish itself. And now that it has, it is gradually dying a slow and decaying death. It took years for us to grow up. And now that we have, we are gradually dying a slow and decaying death.

Poverty is not an illness. Misery is an illness. And the miserable (Les Miserable) can be anyone: King and peasant; young and old; rich and poor; beautiful and ugly; employed and unemployed.

But no faithful are miserable. A faithful person may be a poor person, rich person, young person, elderly person, beautiful person, ugly person, employed person, unemployed person. But they are not a miserable person. In fact, they are a loving person.

The reason why poverty is with us and is here to stay is the same reason why death is with us and is here to stay. It is a part of the plan: part creation, part sin, part life and part human. It is a part of our falling down and growing up. Think about it. Why does the world give us a sense of beauty? To watch it fade away? Why is strength and health a thing to marvel at? To experience weakness and illness? Why does man begin to walk? To crawl again? Why climb up a mountain if tomorrow I will be crawling out of bed! Why does my body insist on being taken care of, while at the same time making the necessary preparations to put itself to an end?

Our world was created with both ends tying a knot and settling a score. We are born into this world with nothing. We die to this world empty handed. We are placed in a womb. We die and are placed in a hole.

Yes, all things pass away, but not out of tragedy; rather, for an entirely different reason. It is not to give birth to tragedy; it is to give birth to life and love.

Why is it that “We don’t know what we have until it is gone?” Why must this be the prelude, the necessary opening act, to living and loving? It doesn’t have to be! But if I do not ever give myself, then I will never find myself. Only if I give myself, will I find myself. Only if I give myself, will I experience love. Only when all “things” pass, will I witness heavenly things.

When the music stops, why do we stop singing? When the music stops, why do we stop dancing? The lover does not wait for the beloved to love. He does not wait for words of love before he gives a kiss. The lover loves before the other. Why give so much importance to what is given when I can give what must be given? I do not need to have money to loved or loving. I do not need to have music in order to sing a lullaby. I do not need to be beautiful to be wonderful. I do not need to be loved in order to love.

The Lord came into the world to remind us of many things. One being… that there is never a dull moment in life and love.

Source: Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse


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