Luke 6, 20-23
Something to read
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
King James Version
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.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Jesus’ disciples had given up everything to follow him. They had no livelihood, no means of earning their keep. Because they followed him they had to rely on charity, to rely on others for their survival; they were poor. But Jesus says about the poor: ‘yours is the kingdom of God’ even now. The poor who follow Jesus are so blessed that they are living in the kingdom of God already.
Jesus continued by blessing those who were suffering. He told his disciples that whatever they were then suffering, it would be put right. He spoke of hunger, assuring his disciples that one day they would be hungry no more. He spoke of sorrow, assuring his disciples that one day they would laugh.
Perhaps to the surprise of his disciples, Jesus speaks of the likelihood of their being hated, excluded from mainstream society, and abused; and all because of their association with him.
But for all this suffering he offered a solution: hope. Not the sort of hope that one person may hold out for another with their fingers crossed. No, Jesus offered his followers a hope based on God’s plan for the world: a hope that is a surety, a promise of things to come.
And just as he offered this promise to his followers so many years ago, so he also offers it to those who are his disciples today.
Jesus says that the kingdom of God is here and now for those who are his followers; we should take comfort in that. And we can feel comfortable too that, whatever we might be suffering for Jesus’ sake now, there will be a time and a place where hunger and tears and pain, will be banished for ever.
Something to do
God works in many ways his wonders to perform. And often he uses human voices to perform them. If you know someone who is worried about their, future you could be the instrument of Gods work. Speak to them quietly about hope, God’s kind of hope that is as sure and certain as any promise.
Something to pray
Lord Jesus, help me to understand your promise of a new tomorrow, and to share this Good News with those around me.
Today’s contributor is Keith Cakebread, a student training for ministry with the United Reformed Church at Westminster College, Cambridge