Summary: A look at the four beatitudes found in Luke’s account.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 12
How to Live Successfully
Luke 6: 17-26
Jesus went into the hill country with His disciples during this night of prayer he was directed by the father to disciple an inner core of men, the apostles who would then disciple others and thus reach out into the multitudes. Sometime during the night the father had placed twelve names on his heart (Luke 6:13-16). (Simon called Peter, Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpehaeus, Simon called Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot). What an interesting group of men! They illustrated the principle declared by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:26 which says, “after the flesh, not many mighty not many noble, are called.” This should be a great encouragement to us, if God could use these men as disciples, He can use us. Of the twelve perhaps seven of them were fishermen, one was a tax collector and four of them we do not know their former vocations. They were ordinary men; their personalities were different; yet Jesus called them to be with Him, to learn from Him and to go out and represent Him.
So it was that Jesus came down to a level place (6:17), there he selected and set apart the Twelve, ministered to the sick and preached perhaps the greatest sermon of all time.
“And he came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases (18) as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. (19) And the whole multitude sought to touch Him for power went out from Him and healed then all. (20) Then he lifted up His eyes toward his disciples, and said: Blessed are you poor For yours is the Kingdom of God (21) Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled, Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. (22) Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. (23) Rejoice in that day and leap of joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”
Luke’s account gives us four Beatitudes whereas Matthew’s account gives nine. Because of the similarities with the sermon found in Matthew 5-7 some believe that it is the same sermon. But because of the numerous difference it is also possible to see Luke’s account as a separate sermon, preached on a different occasion, with a distinct purpose.
The sermon is introduced in verse 20 with the phrase,
“Then he lifted up His eyes toward his disciples, and said”
this clearly indicates that what he has to say is specifically for His personal followers. He also uses the second person plural as he addresses the disciples “blessed are you.” The King James Version uses “ye” a plural you meaning “you, all of you.” Here he gives a profile of what a disciple is to be. Those who follow Jesus must operate under a set of values different from and often opposite of that of the world. The Lord explained that a blessed life was not found in “getting” or from “doing” but from “being.”
The four descriptions of the righteous are not four separate groups, but four parts of a portrait describing those who are blessed. The Lord then turned to those in the crowd who were living only for the blessings of this earth and gave them the flip side of the coin. For each of the blessings there is a corresponding woe. Again with the woes he is not describing four different individuals or groups but rather four parts of a single portrait of those who stand in opposition to God’s kingdom. The four woes all share a common truth, beware of what you take from life, for you will pay for it. The Point seems to be that life involves choices. We must choose what in life to pursue. Every choice had both benefits (blessings) and a price to pay.
1. BEWARE OF SETTING YOUR SIGHTS TOO LOW (vv. 20, 24)
“… Blessed are you poor For yours is the Kingdom of God”
There is nothing innately righteous able being poor, nor is there any automatic evil in being rich. The writer of Proverbs (30:8-9) says that poverty can either be a curse or a blessing. “… Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me; (9) Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.”