As we read through Luke each week there will be two devotions focusing on particular passages. Click here to read past devotions.
I did change the order, Focus Point first, Tidbits at the bottom.
Focus Point: Blessings and Woes (Luke 6:17-26)
This begins a message that is very similar to Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (chapter 5-7). But Luke’s has very important differences. This isn’t to say Luke made changes, or that Matthew made changes. If Jesus was preaching everyday (as the Scripture reveals), he must have often repeated ideas. Said similar concepts different ways. (Consider, I preach just once a week. Which is easy the first few months, but year after year… it is a struggle to come up with new things to say — as you know, I often say the same things!)
Matthew begins with the Beatitudes, similar to Luke’s blessings. While Matthew has more (8), all four from Luke connect to Matthew. But Luke is more literal:
Luke: “Blessed are the Poor” — Matthew: “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit”
(L): “Blessed are the Hungry” — (M): “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness”
While Matthew moves the ideas to the metaphysical, Luke’s passage leaves them in the physical. Why are we blessed for being poor? Hungry? Too often we only follow Matthew’s path, making our faith metaphysical – a message of ideas. When our faith is also very physical. Meaning it should impact our daily lives – it should impact our stuff. Stuff that we are not only willing to give away – stuff that we actually do give away.
Connecting to Today: “Jesus paid it all!” – When I was a middle school minister in Augusta I worked with the Mission’s Pastor in our benevolence ministry. Occasionally, I would be the lead minister, making decisions on how we would help. Of course my hands were tied on how much I could help. And often people would want more help. One lady in particular was upset we would only pay a portion of her electric bill. She gave me an earful about how much Jesus paid… you can imagine how I wanted to respond. It is tempting to only help the kind and meek. The one whose story breaks our hearts. But we are called to help the irritating, angry, lazy… even our enemies… even if it means we become poor and hungry. And this is difficult.
Consider: Pray to find someone who needs a gift. Watch this weekend.
Interesting Tidbits (More Sermon on the Mount Connections):
- Matthew commands: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). Luke writes, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (6:36). I wonder, is mercy the road to perfection?
- Matthew and Luke unite on what makes us children of God. Matthew first declares peacemakers will be children of God (5:9), but clarifies, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (5:45). Luke uses the same language in 6:35 and add this description of God: “he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” As Jesus, the Son, demonstrates.
Other Interesting Tidbits:
- Old Wine — This is the topic for my message on Sunday, but 5:39 is haunting. Jesus is comparing the new covenant with the old. The traditions and ways (rituals) of the old can not be combined with the new. It must have new wineskins… then there is verse 39. I think an obvious reference to the Jews who will not accept Jesus (the Sadducees, Pharisees, etc), because they love their traditions.
- Sabbath — One of these traditions was valuing the rule more than the purpose. For instance, the rule of sabbath was not to work. But the purpose was to know God. The leaders, so intent to avoid work, miss knowing God… Jesus references 1Samuel 21 and it is appropriate for more than just food. David is fleeing from King Saul, who has tried to kill him. But soon David overturned the line of Saul and became the king. In Jesus the son of David has arrived. Now he is pursued by the leaders, but he will bring about a change…