Jesus is the Son of Man
Blessings and Woes
Good Morning! Let’s grab our Bibles and turn in them to Luke chapter 6. As always, if you do not have a Bible or know someone who needs one, please see me after the service and we can get a Bible into your hands.
So, we are going through Luke’s Gospel and we have now come to a section of a chunk of Jesus’ teachings. Luke has been showing the readers, Theophilus and us, been showing us Jesus authority over all things. And we have seen Jesus had just finished calling his 12 Apostles out of his numerous disciples.
This teaching we are going to look at has very similar content as the Sermon on the Mount that we see recorded by Matthew in his Gospel, Matthew 5-7. But we saw, according to scriptures, “on a level plain.” Because of this, some have nicknamed this passage, “The Sermon on the Plain.”
We also have seen that people had come from all over to see and listen to Jesus. From Judea to Jerusalem, from Tyre to Sidon, people came from all over to hear him. And what they are going o hear, is Jesus reiterating, rephrasing and subverting their expectations for the rules of life.
So, lets go ahead and read this week’s passage, Luke chapter 6, verses 20-26. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Please follow along in your preferred translation, reading the Word of God for yourself. Luke 6:20-26, Luke records the very Words and teachings of Jesus, writing:
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.
Thus, saith the LORD.
So, we start by seeing this word, “Blessed” used by Jesus. This word is often thought of to mean “happy,” but it really means so much more than that. Blessed is so much deeper than happy. RC Sproul says that it is more to be brought into an intimate relationship with God. He writes, “When the Bible pronounces blessing, it doesn’t mean, “Be Happy.” It means, “May you understand in the depths of your soul, in the deepest chamber of your heart, the sweetness of the presence of God as you live before his face every moment.”
And so, we will go through these Blesseds that Jesus speaks of here, and afterwards, the opposite, he pronounces Woes that correlate to these same Blesseds.
First, Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Now, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records Jesus as saying, Blessed are the Poor in spirit. The point Jesus is making at that point is that none of us are able to be righteous enough or to be religious enough to get ourselves into the Kingdom of Heaven.
And I don’t think that the too things that Jesus says are exactly the same, nor are they unrelated or opposites of each other. Luke is very concerned with those who are physically in need. Those who are poor, those who are sick. Those who are oppressed. We saw with the scripture that Jesus read to introduce his ministry in Luke 4:18, that he is also concerned with the very same groups. And so, Jesus could have and obviously, that he is also concerned with the very same groups. And so, Jesus could have and obviously address both those who are spiritually poor and those who are materially poor.
And poverty, poorness is a very humbling experience. That’s what it is intended to provoke. And so, this is not a proof text for so called, “poverty theology.” Poverty theology says that those who are poor and those who have little to no material possessions are more spiritual and righteous than those who do have material possession.
We know that’s not the case, as we see both rich and poor can be both righteous and unrighteous. The point that Jesus is making is that we are to be fully reliant on God, for both the material and the spiritual.
On the flip aside of this, Jesus cries out, Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Nowhere in scripture does it say that having money is wrong or sinful. What it does say is that money, comfort, and material possessions make it much more difficult to recognize our spiritual poverty and our need for God and his grace. Martin Luther observed: Rich folks’ children seldom turn out well. They are complacent, arrogant, and conceited and think they need to learn nothing because they have enough to live on anyway.”
His point, when we don’t have any needs, when we don’t need to rely on anyone or anything, then we reject reliance on our God and He who judges our soul and determines our eternal destiny.
Building on that, I believe, Jesus gives his next Blessed. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Again, different but related, in order to fully flesh out the idea behind what Jesus is saying, we look at what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
What did you think about the Bible before you became a Christian? Was it nothing? Was it a book to be on your shelf, your side table or coffee table, but never to be opened? Was it a good idea, full of nice stories to teach us to behave? For me, it was the truth, but never read, never looked and therefore, never known what it said. How can you think it’s true if you don’t know what it is? But most people, before they are Christians don’t really have an interest in what the Bible says, especially in understanding it.
Can you remember one of the biggest changes that came about when you became a Christian? What about opening that Bible that was sitting in the shelf and collecting dust? What about, now that you believe in Jesus Christ, that he is God, finding out what he said? Having a hunger and thirst for knowing what his word says? Right along with that, I would argue unable to be disconnected from that, is a drive to please God, to obey his commandments and to do his will? Those are things that come along with having your heart changed from stone by Him and being brought to life out of death.
The problem comes that we cannot achieve this, we cannot satisfy these hungers and these thirsts fully in this world and this life. We hunger and thirst for righteousness, but we have no righteousness of our own. We can grow in righteousness as we mature and grow in the LORD, but as we do so, how easy is it for this to morph into self-righteousness, or to morph into judgmental ism, or legalism. Our passion and our heart are to learn more about God and to do the will of God. But we cannot see or know perfectly. Paul says in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, that for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
There are times we will get the will of God wrong. There are things in the Bible that we won’t understand. But our new heart, our changed nature gives us a hunger and thirst to now God better, to know his word, to try to live up to the Holy standard that God has set. And when we enter the Kingdom that hunger, that thirst will be satisfied. We will know full, see clearly, just as we have been fully known. We have no hunger, no thirst for righteousness without God. We desire to fulfill our own fleshly desires. We want what we want, and we want it now.
Jesus tells us that not only spiritual hunger, but physical hunger exists to point us towards God. We need to rely on him for all that we need, physically and spiritually. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:26, Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
God provides for our physical needs and our spiritual needs. He does so out of his grace. But when we lose that hunger, we forget that it is God who provided. We get comfortable. We get complacent. We refuse to step out of our comfort zone.
I know I’m guilty of this sometimes. We don’t always think it consciously of course. “I’m just going to sit here in my comfortable bubble, here at home, or here at our church and wait for people to come to me instead of going out there…”
So, we need to keep that hunger, that hunger for righteousness and the hunger to fulfill Gods Will. For it is only by fulfilling our calling in Christ that we will be truly and fully satisfied.
But we won’t be satisfied immediately, not in the sense that Jesus is talking about here. Next, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” We all know that there is a lot to weep about in this world. RC Sproul writes about this verse. “The context indicates that these are mourning over sin and evil, especially their own, and over the failure of mankind to give proper glory to God.”
Now, let me ask you a question, can anyone who does not know God, truly know him, know him through his Son, Jesus Christ, can they truly mourn about sin, and about the failure for humanity to give glory to God? Now, the answer is no, but before you give that answer without thinking, I want to point something out. I want to point out how the enemy doesn’t have to tell us complete lies. He doesn’t have to point us 180 degrees away from Gods truth. He just has to get us 1 degree off.
Do you see the people today who are decidedly not Christian, who are protesting social problems? Do you see those fighting against injustices? Do you see how passionate they are to make things right? They see that there are things broken in this world, that this is not how it is supposed to be. They see the effects of sin, on people, on families, on society, on the world. They don’t see that it is sin that does it. They see people as generally good, or at least some are good, and if they could only convince the others, who are bad, that what they are doing is wrong, then they will be good too. There are bits of truth mixed into the ball of lies.
Yes, sin has broken this world. There are social problems. There are injustices. We should be that passionate about fixing those problems and injustices. But the truth is, the Bible tells us there are none good, no not one. That all our “goodness” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to God. And after we see things with open eyes, when the Holy spirit lifts the veil from our eyes, it is only then that we can see the truth, and how bad things truly can be, and how bad, how unrepentant of our sin, our lack of honoring and giving glory to God that we truly are.
Once our eyes are truly open, the effects of sin should break our hearts. The hordes of lost souls walking down the wide and easy road down into hell, going of their own choosing, following their feelings, following their friends & following the culture and society, that should break our hearts, that should cause us to mourn. Nehemiah, when he heard that Jerusalem had been destroyed, he sat down, and wept and mourned for days.
The good news is that those who are truly, rightly, mourning, those that have had their eyes open and the veil lifted, they will be in the Kingdom of Heaven, where Jesus tells us through John at the end of Revelation, there will be no tears, no more death, no mourning, nor crying nor pain. In other words, no more sin, no more social problems, no more injustice, no more brokenness. We are comforted in that we know that’s what God has waiting for us, we know that God has won the battle already, we are just waiting for time to catch up with God. And we will be comforted when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven because there will be nothing to mourn. Instead, we will laugh and rejoice and dance in worship to our king.
Lastly among the Blesseds, “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.
Now, this is a favorite among Christians when things seem to be going the wrong way in society and the culture. And its true, Jesus testifies to it multiple times that the world will hate a right understanding of what the Bible says. Many will and are trying to make it say something that it never said and never meant.
But here is the thing I want you to take away from this. This Blessed cannot be reverse engineered. If people hate, revile exclude you, that does not automatically mean that you are being biblical or Christlike.
I know someone needed to hear that, and sometimes its me.
Verse 26 has the parallel woe, 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. Each of these Blesseds have a balance to them. This one for example. Yes, the world will hate us, given the right understanding of that. But we balance that with the context of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, especially verse 7, when listing the requirements for an elder, Paul writes, Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
That’s not an easy balance to strike. I like how I have heard it before. The Gospel is offensive, there is no way around that. People do not want to be confronted with their sin. But just because the Gospel will be offensive, does not give us the right to be offensive.
Overall, Jesus is making the point that if you want the benefits and rewards of and in heaven, you’re going to have to go through some stuff here on earth.
We have the choices to make, between the Blesseds and the Woes. The choice is not between blessed or neutral. It is not beloved or ignored. Our choice is between blessed or cursed, forgiven or punished, grace or wrath.
Woe to those who are full, who are rich, who laugh now, who people speak well of. Just like we sometimes misunderstand Blessed, we do so as well with Woe. Woe is not used here as a threat of judgment, but more along the lines of what we said about blessed are those who mourn. This Woe is more of a sadness regarding what is going on, Basically, in this context, a mourning over the choice that was made.
We need to remember to look at these sayings on context. Remember what I said at the beginning, one of the things Jesus is doing is showing us the true meaning of Gods commands and subverting the expectations of those who were listening to him. What Jesus is teaching here in our passage today and through out the rest of this teaching passage, is not about strict obedience to the letter of the law. Its not about Finding loopholes either. You know, when we think to ourselves, “How close can we get… or How much can we do and still not sin…”
J.C Ryle wrote “We must take good heed that we do not misunderstand our LORDs meaning when we read these expressions. We must not for a moment suppose that the mere fact of being poor, and hungry and sorrowful, and hated by man will entitle any one to lay claim to an interest in Christ’s blessing. The poverty here spoken of, is a poverty accompanied by grace. The want is a want entailed by faithful adherence to Jesus. The afflictions are the afflictions of the Gospel. The persecution is a persecution for the Son of Mans sake.
Listen, of course its not wrong to laugh. Its not wrong to have material possessions. Its not wrong to have a full belly or to be well thought of by those outside these walls. It is wrong when it comes at others expense. It is wrong when it’s at the expense of righteousness. It is wrong when it comes at the expense if God and the Gospel.
What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet lose his soul?
A lot of us need to remember this when we watch the news or follow current events. The Bible is clear, we are not going to “Christianize” the nations. There is no such thing as a Christian nation in the physical world.
Instead, we serve a King of a different kingdom, one not of this world. One whose citizenship requirement is simply the faith granted to us by the Grace of God through his Son, Jesus Christ. His death on the cross, his resurrection, his ascension, made possible the forgiveness of our sins, enabling our eternal souls to be reconciled to God the Father. We will come back to that in just a moment.
First, A blessing and Woe that I put together from what I read from Jesus, something I think the church needs to hear in America today.
Blessed is he who serves the Kingdom of God above all others. Blessed is he who recognizes and serves no King but Jesus. Blessed are they who are exiles in a land not their own, who work for the welfare of the city, but whose eyes are looking forward to the city built and designed by God, for they will receive eternal life with Christ.
Woe to those who put their faith in politicians and parties. Woe to those who put their faith in the outcome of elections. Woe to those who villainize people who disagree with hem, who vote opposite of them or see things differently from them, for they have their reward already.
Now, each month we remember Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood and his death on the cross. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Before he did this, Jesus told us to remember this and to celebrate it as often as we get together. We do this in a monthly basis, we celebrate communion as a church family.
We remember and we follow the commands of Jesus that he gave his disciples during the Last Supper.
Luke’s Gospel records the Last Supper, and he writes of Jesus telling his disciples in chapter 22, verses 19& 20: He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after super, he took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
We do this in remembrance of Him. Paul speaks about communion in 1 Corinthians 11 and before we get into it, I have one thing to share that Paul tells us, first, communion is for believers. It is in remembrance for what he has done for us. It is us obey his commands by our faith in him. Communion itself does not save. It does not forgive sins; it does not impart righteousness or cleanse your soul. If you are not a follower of Christ, we just ask that you pass the elements along and then, if you have any questions or want to take that step, you can talk to myself or one of the deacons after the service.
Now, we are going to do things a little bit different this morning, due to taking some precautions. We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.
First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.