Blessed

A secular mindset would use the word “fortunate,” not “blessed.”
A synonym for “fortunate” would be “lucky.” Synonyms for “blessed” include, “happy” and “consecrated.” Luck assigns no guiding force to events and circumstances. Blessed insists there is One who does the blessing—a Divine source of happiness and holiness.

The Sermon on the Plain
Dr. Luke relates another instance where Jesus preaches a message similar to “The Sermon on the Mount.” This time, instead of preaching from an elevated, natural platform, Jesus selected “a level place” from which to speak. I see it as a sort of natural amphitheater with the people on the sloping hillside and Jesus on the flat “stage” below. As before, He told this multitude how their worlds will change when they commit to following Him. All the accepted rules of stimulus and response would be upended. A life of faith and optimism would replace their lives of doubt and despair.

Who Will be Blessed?
The list is most inclusive, gathering into one context the miseries of life and promising hope and health in their place.

  • The poor will be supported by the riches of the Kingdom of God.
  • The hungry will be well-supplied and nourished by this same Kingdom.
  • Those who weep with broken hearts will find a Savior who can bind up their broken hearts and give them the healing gift of laughter.
  • Following Christ excites hatred from those who do not believe. This will happen and when it does, those who are persecuted will rejoice, seeing this pain as a sign of greater joy to come.
  • Those whom the world casts out will be the ones included in heavenly things.

Jesus promises a blessed life to those who follow Him.

Turning Tables
In this version of the sermon, Jesus teaches about the other side—those who do not follow Him—what can they look for out of life? The answer is the antonym of “blessed,” “woe.” Dictionaries give definitions like this one:

“…grievous distress, affliction, or trouble…”

Jesus knew that many, if not most, of the people in the multitude, would turn away from Him when the healings were done and the miracles were just a memory. He sounded a set of warnings that rejecting Him would bring, “grievous distress, affliction, and trouble.”

  • Those whose riches rule their hearts will have no security in their wealth for it is truly only poverty in glittering disguise.
  • Those whose bellies are full every night will still crave things they cannot define, let along possess. True riches are from above and are secure in heaven.
  • Those who live for mirth, entertainment, or constant stimulation will see their laughter dissolve into tears making of each of them a sobbing soul that finds no comfort.
  • Those who achieve celebrity will find their reign of approval short. People soon forget one idol and turn to another.

Jesus Is the Key
As Jesus began preaching this amazing sermon, the whole multitude grew quiet. Even children settled down as if they were listening, too. These people did not see Calvary coming. They only saw this young man with the rough hands of a carpenter, the clear and convincing word of a prophet, and the healing touch of—whom? Messiah?

Scriptures:
Luke: 6:20-26

Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Prayer:
Lord, it would be an insult to You if I called myself “fortunate.” I am not lucky; I am blessed. All my accounts are backed up by “Your riches in glory!” All my deepest hunger is supplied by Your bountiful Kingdom. You have taken my tears and turned them to dancing. When my heart is bruised or broken, Your loving hands caress it, the pain subsides, and the healing begins. Though this world may cast me out, You have taken me in. You have grafted my life into Your life, a ruined branch now healthy and fruitful in the True Vine! I am Blessed! Thank You, Jesus!

Song:
I Am Blessed

Words and Music: C. Jerry Goff

1. Thru the sunshine and rain
Even sorrow and pain
Jesus is still my comfort and guide
And His love comforts me
And His grace has set me free
And someday I shall stand by His side

Refrain:
I am blessed (I am blessed)
I am blessed (I am blessed)
Ev’ry day that I live
I am blessed (I am blessed)
When I wake up in the morning
Till I lay my head to rest
I am blessed I am blessed (I am blessed)

2. I have shoes for my feet
I have plenty to eat
And a home in heaven by and by
Brothers and sisters on this earth
They are mine by my new birth
And we shall share in that home beyond the sky

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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