(Part 33)




September 10, 2014

Today’s gospel:  Luke 6:20-26



The first is last. The greatest is the least. The leader is servant. Such is the foolishness of the gospel. That is, to people who are worldly in their thinking, who put on not the mind of Christ but the mind of the world.

In this sermon on the plain, Jesus pronounces woe to the rich, to those who are filled, to those who laugh, and to those whom people speak well of (v.24-25). But those are precisely the things people most desire! They want more money, more satisfaction, more happiness, more recognition and acclaim.

Further, Jesus pronounces as blessed those who are poor, hungry, weeping, maligned (v.20-22). Jesus tells those hated, excluded, insulted and denounced to rejoice, nay, to leap for joy! (v.22-23). The fallen world may hate us, but hey, that says something positive about us.

What are we to make of all these?

At the end of time there will be an overturning of fortunes. The hungry will be satisfied while the filled will be hungry (v.21a,25a). The weeping will laugh while those laughing now will grieve (v.21b,25b). Who will have the last laugh? Who will have the final fulfillment? It is those who seek God, those who have nothing but God, those who witness to Jesus and so are persecuted “on account of the Son of Man.” (v.22d). And who will experience woe? Those who enjoy the world, who pursue the things of the world, and in the process neglect God and serving Him.

You cannot serve God and mammon. The gospel is not the so-called prosperity gospel, but the gospel of the cross. The world entices, but such enticements and pleasures can be deadly. Denial of self and embrace of the cross are the ways of following Christ. We are in the world but not of it. We are set apart, called to be holy.

We of course can enjoy the good things, the blessings that come from God. But we are to be careful that we do not allow the enemy to cause us to lose focus and veer away. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Serve him and not yourself. Rejoice in the Lord always.

Whatever happens to us in this life, we look not to the present world but to the next. “Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.” (v.23b).


*     *     *