Heavenly Father, may fellowship with you be my mainstay. Help me to listen, as well as to speak, when I pray.
Read LUKE 6:12-26
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.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThe first call of the apostles—even before being sent out—was to simply ‘be with’ Jesus (Mark 3:14). Spend unhurried time in prayer, and in reading and exploring God’s Word today.
Luke records here two important ‘appointments’: Jesus’ appointment with the Father, followed by his appointment of the apostles. When preparing for decisive moments and before making important decisions, Jesus spent extended time in prayer (see Luke 3:21; 5:16). A whole night in prayer precedes the appointment of the twelve (vs 12-16) and is followed by an important address to the disciples (vs 20-26).
The word ‘apostle’ means ‘sent.’ The twelve, and later others from among the larger circle of disciples, would be sent out by Jesus on mission trips (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-16). But since this sending would invite opposition and involve obstacles, Jesus often warned them about the cost of discipleship (v 20; see 9:23,24). The address that follows (sometimes called the ‘sermon on the plain’) is a reminder that kingdom people must learn to take a long view of life. Disciples are ‘blessed’ with promises of a kingdom and the kingdom blessings of deep contentment and joy (vs 20-23). Yet, while their appointment is a precious privilege, it is also one that brings problems and persecution (v 22).
John Stott described the Holy Spirit as one who ‘before he is the comforter is the disturber.’* Disciples of Jesus must master the spiritual art of being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Your daily appointment with God is an anointed time. Treasure it. Safeguard it.
Thank you Father, that you never tire of my coming to you in prayer, that you always hear me, even when I reach out to you from the quiet recesses of my heart.
*John Stott, Sermon on the Mount, The Bible Speaks Today series (IVP, 2020), p.98.
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