Callings, Blessings and Warnings
Holy God, You are Ruler, Lord, Redeemer, and Judge. I offer all my praise and devotion to You.
Read Luke 6:12-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When real Christianity has been tried, it has proven to be difficult. It bumps up against the ways of the world; points of conflict pierce serious believers” (James C. Howell).
It is not clear what criteria Jesus used for calling twelve apostles out from his larger group of disciples. From the list of names, it doesn’t seem to have been related to any special qualities. What is clear is that Jesus spent the night in prayer before he made this big decision. It is a sober reminder to us of how much more we need God’s guidance in the decisions we make.
The ministry of the twelve seems to have started very quickly. It must have been startling to see Jesus with the crowds, bringing healing. Even more startling was his teaching, not least these “beatitudes” and “woes.” Here in Luke, they are more terse and shorter than in Matthew’s Gospel, and relate less to attitudes than to the basic conditions of life. But the effect in both Gospels is the same. Jesus turns normal values upside down. Far from bringing defeat or curse, our poverty, hunger, weeping and rejection can bring blessings. It is the things we welcome—riches, food, laughter and good reputation—which will go sour and bring misery.
What is the difference between those Jesus calls “blessed” and those he warns with “woe”? The “blessed” seem to be those who have put their trust in God despite the circumstances they face, even when it brings persecution. The “woes” have put their trust in material well-being, seeking joy in riches, good food and flattery and living self-centered lifestyles. It is an apt description of cultural values today. Indifference to the hungry or broken-hearted is always the wrong way for those called to follow Jesus. His warnings of the consequences are not just for Judas and the disciples, but for us, also.
Do you find the greatest happiness in the things that Jesus commends? How can you move to be even more “blessed” in the ways Jesus taught?
Lord, I want to be happy but I know it comes only in following Your ways. Empower me to keep worldly values at bay and follow Yours.