As we read through Luke 6, I warn you that it is a hard one! It is the chapter with the Beatitudes, as they have been labeled. Blessings and woes. And I struggle with these. Do you?
How straightforward are they meant to be taken? How did Jesus intend for the giving and love to balance with “responsible” living and justice?
I have been asking a lot of questions lately, which is a good beginning. After a while, though, you must stop pushing out words and throwing thoughts and listen. Thank God, and seek His voice. I have a hard time being quiet.
Jesus only has disciples as this chapter opens. The Pharisees are seeking to destroy Him at every turn. He seeks to show them a better way than the rules they want so badly to control.
Jesus calls His apostles, His band, His special group. And He only does it after praying all night long – this is a new perspective on priorities! And they are such a strange band of fishermen and a zealot, and someone labeled a traitor. Did Jesus treat Him any differently? I’ve no doubt He showed Judas the same love.
Jesus had power coming out of Him to heal, but He also wanted to be heard. He specifically instructed those who followed Him regarding this divide that was obvious between the approved religion and what He was teaching them. Theirs was a long-term gain.
The legalism of the Pharisees’ instructions is the focus of either end of this message. And at its core are these verses (from the ESV):
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be putinto your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
God, I want to understand better how this passage applies to my life, where You have put me. Thank You that You hear us, You have put these words of life into our lives. Thank You that the way You direct us is the way that You desire as a pattern of wholeness and delight in a world of evil. And it doesn’t always seem that way. But this is how You make us different. Thank You for Your love that gives so much! Please teach us how to give up ourselves and access Your endless supply to direct to others.
That is part of an ocean-sized view of God.
What is God teaching you in this passage? What areas are you asking questions or needing to be still? Let me know below.