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Summary: Have you noticed that Jesus often says the exact opposite of popular ideas? Christianity is for thinking people. Jesus did not establish a Church where people just check their brains at the entry door and blindly follow men. We worship God also with our minds. Jesus challenges us to think.

Have you noticed that Jesus often says the exact opposite of popular ideas? Christianity is for thinking people. Jesus did not establish a Church where people just check their brains at the entry door and blindly follow men. We worship God also with our minds. Jesus challenges us to think.

Perhaps after He gave the Sermon on the Mount, after praying all night on the Mount of Olives, Jesus then came down to give the Sermon on the Plain. It contains some similar puzzles for us to contemplate. Let’s look at the first part of it in Luke 6:17-26.

A Level Place

Luke 6:17-19 “Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.”

This seems to be a different time to the Sermon on the Mount. It may be a similar sermon given the next morning. Just as modern day preachers may give similar sermons in two or more places, the lessons are familiar, but now Jesus is standing on a level place.

This Sermon on the Plain included a multitude that was very mixed, disciples, people, Jews and perhaps even Gentiles from the coastal cities. They had come to receive healing from Jesus. And Jesus did so indiscriminately with an abundant display of His miraculous power.

Blessed

Luke 6:20-21 “And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”

Contrasted with the Sermon on the Mount which says “blessed are the poor in spirit,” this Sermon on the Plain says, “blessed are the [destitute].” In Greek society, the rich were “the blessed.” As usual, Jesus says the opposite. The poor realize their lack, and are ready to hear God.

“Kingdom of God” is really an incomplete translation in modern English, especially among nations where many may not relate to a monarchy. It is better rendered “reign of God.” It is consistently used to describe the rule of Christ in the hearts of the faithful, who obey His reign now.

Blessed are you who hunger now uses fewer words than in the Sermon on the Mount, “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Perhaps fewer words also say more. Like riches tend to dull the desire for higher things of God, so does a full stomach dull the hunger of the soul.

Blessed are you who weep. Crying is part of life and certainly includes the Christian experience. We mourn for our own sins and the sins of the world. A result of sin is crying tears. Here is the only place in the entire New Testament where laughter refers to joy.

Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.”

The first Christians were excommunicated from the synagogue. Later some were excommunicated from churches because they dared to follow Jesus instead of vain traditions. Yet, Jesus asked more questions than He answered. He wants us to think. When we are hated for Jesus’ sake, not our sins, we are blessed.

Pain

Luke 6:24-26 “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.”

The Greek word “ouai” is similar to our English “ouch” and means pain. Why the rich? They already have all they are going to get. Why the fed? They will hunger. Why the laughing? They will mourn and weep. Why the popular? They are in danger of being false prophets.

Have you noticed that Jesus often says the exact opposite of popular ideas? Christianity is for thinking people. Jesus did not establish a Church where people just check their brains at the entry door and blindly follow men. We worship God also with our minds. Jesus challenges us to think.

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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