And he lifted up his eyes on 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 shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“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! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so 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 now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Comment: This seems to be a very succinct way of teaching what enables you to be ‘Blessed’. A word that, in this context, sounds like a good word. I find it a difficult word to completely define, but it seems to me something like ‘happy because you are on the right side of God’. Obviously this is trying to explain it in the context of Jesus teaching. I’d like to hear what one of the commoners, or disciples, listening on that day heard it to mean.
Every ‘blessed’ is followed by something to make you or indicates that you should be sad – poverty, hunger, weeping and to be hated – are the things listed as the basis for blessing! And the list of woes that follow are the antitheses of the blessings. Is the poverty different from material poverty? Could it be a recognition of your own state before God? Do we need to have a sense of inadequacy for God to bless us, after which we can enter his kingdom?
If so, maybe the equivalent understanding of ‘woe’ is that if our assessment of worth is worldly wealth then we already have what we wanted and the kingdom isn’t opened to us?
Does hunger mean hunger for goodness and the godly things? If so, God will see that we get what we are hungering for? But if our hunger is for a satiated life with food and good things then we have nothing of lasting value to make us satisfied in the future?
Is the weeping an expression of repentance and the later laughter the joy of forgiveness? If we are cheerful now with our natural sinful state then we will reap the sorrow of an unforgiven status before God later?
Prepare to be scoffed at now because that is what has happened to God’s people in the past or enjoy popularity now and be judged by man’s and not eternal standards?
It makes me wonder if there are two ways of living that we have to choose between. God has been squeezed out of our modern thinking, but is He still there behind the scenes and still relevant? A lot of things to think about.
Prayer: Am I living in the real world or have I slipped into a false way of seeing things? Please show me.