Read Luke 6 here or click on the speaker icon below to listen.
The religious leaders had established hundreds of rules to define what counted as “work” on the Sabbath, and apparently, Jesus’s disciples plucking grain in a grainfield and rubbing it in their hands broke the rules. Jesus again states His deity when challenged about “working” on the Sabbath, saying, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
On another Sabbath, the religious leaders wait and watch to see if Jesus will heal a man with a withered hand. They were looking for any reason to accuse Him of something and minimize His growing impact. Undeterred, Jesus heals the man.
Time and time again, we see Jesus taking time to get away and pray to His Father. Even Jesus…the Son of God…God in the flesh, took time to be still, quiet, and in prayer. After a night of prayer, Jesus chooses twelve among His disciples to be apostles. A disciple is a student; a learner. An apostle is a disciple as well, but one who is also a messenger. An apostle is sent out on a mission with a message.
Turning to the disciples, Jesus begins to preach what we refer to as the Beatitudes, or series of “Blessed…” statements, followed by a series of “Woes.”
Our idea of blessed is all backward when define it by things going our way or having beautiful things. But this is how we define it most often, isn’t it? We are blessed when we have food for a nice meal, we are blessed when our social media following grows, we are blessed when we win, we are blessed when we make captain of the team, we are blessed when we get that amazing job and new house and child.
Jesus says otherwise. Not that these are bad things but blessed is not what you physically have possession of, it is when you realize you have nothing of any value at all; when you understand God is what you need.
When we have resources, we may ask God to fill in some gaps, but we still try to take care of as much as we can on our own. We don’t tap into the mighty power of God.
When we have food, we may feast on the bread of life, but only a little because we are quite full of what we already have. We miss out on the fullness of God.
When we are satisfied, we may ask God for those new desires, but we aren’t desperate for them. We are pretty okay. We miss out on the truly abundant life God has in store for us.
When people admire us and speak well of us, we think we are on the right track. We crave more from people and truth becomes blurry. We may be leaning too far into things of the world over things of God.
In story after story and teaching after teaching, Jesus tries to get us to see this truth, but we continue to live according to the world’s definition of blessed. We may get a little of God, but only what fits in the holes left behind by our own filling. As a result, we miss the abundance of God.
Jesus continues, telling us to love others…not just the easy to love who love us back, but our enemies as well. The hard people to love. He tells us to be merciful, as God is merciful. He tells us not to judge or condemn or withhold forgiveness or to be stingy in our giving. He tells us to take the log out of our eye before we call out the speck in our brother’s eye. He tells us that what is in our hearts will come out in our words and actions.
If we declare Jesus as our Lord and Savior, do we act like it? Do we build our lives on His foundation? Do we do what He says?
Why do you think the religious leaders are so angry with Jesus and always on the lookout for ways to accuse Him of something?
How do you define blessed? How might this differ from Jesus’ definition? Why do you think that might be the case?
Think about your words and actions. What do they say about what is in your heart? Is your foundation built on Jesus?