Friday, March 4, 2011

Jesus Lays Down the Measuring Stick for His Disciples

This was the lesson from our Tuesday night fellowship. [Some of it is really sinking in for me.]

Luke 6:17-26

Jesus Lays Down the Measuring Stick for His Disciples
No one wants to be sick – or poor – or rejected. No one wants to be ostracized or hated. We are a communal species, made for companions, lovers, friends, family and neighborhoods. This is hard-wired in us, for we ARE made in God’s image – and He is plural: “Let Us make man in Our image…” we are told in Genesis. We can see the Trinity if we look carefully in the first few chapters of the Bible. Even when God makes man, He says everything is ‘good’ except for man being alone and that is declared ‘not good.’ Thus Eve is created to be a partner for Adam.

But after the Fall, and as our baser human nature took more and more control, all of our relationships became polluted in one form or another. Humorously, Martin Luther imagined what it must have been like for Adam and Eve to keep on living after the Fall: “You ate the Apple”, Eve would say, and Adam would retort, “You gave it to me!”

And so God, mercifully, would choose men and women to speak back into the human race, to warn them to turn around, trust God and not the world. We called them prophets – and every one of them hated their job if they loved people at all. There is no glee in telling someone he or she is wrong, in trouble with God and needs to change.

You may not like the doctor who tells you the tingling in your throat is cancer – but he IS the one trying to save your life.

Amen.

Read in the round

Luke 6:17-26
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon,
18 who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured,
19 and the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.

20 Looking at His disciples, He said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.

25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.

26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets."


1) What was the first thing Jesus did when he met the masses? [Look again, it’s subtle.] Why did they come?
2) When people meet you, as a Christ-follower, do you impact their lives? Do your actions help and bless?
3) What shows that we are favored by God, says Jesus? Why is this so?

Benediction
Isaiah 44:8-11

Various Thinkers and Leaders on “Beatitudes”
  • It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. – C. S. Lewis

  • The ultimately lost person is the person who cannot want God. Who cannot want God to BE God... The reason they do not find God is that they do not want Him or, at least, do not want Him to be God. Wanting God to be God is very different from wanting God to help me. – Dallas Willard

  • She who kneels before God can stand before anyone – Unknown

  • When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place.
    – C. S. Lewis

  • The Beatitudes are not so much ethics of obedience as ethics of grace. They imply God as a gracious giver and [humans as humble receivers]. They do not mean: you must do these things in order to deserve and win the Divine approval. Rather do they say: God gives his blessedness to those who claim no merit for themselves but, knowing their own heart’s needs, are content to rest wholly on the mercy of God. – Archibald Hunter

  • The thing [we are] blessed in is [our] poverty. If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition, then Jesus says —Blessed are you, because it is through this poverty that I enter his Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman, I can only enter it as a complete pauper. – Oswald Chambers

  • The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting His way with us. – Oswald Chambers

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