Summary: EPHIPHANY 6, YEAR C - Blessed are... Woe are... What’s Jesus talking about? Read my sermon and find out.


Once there was a traveling preacher who was making his rounds to several preaching points. One of these preaching locations was the edge of a corn field. Arriving early at the corn field the preacher found himself alone. He decided to wait and see if anyone came to hear his sermon. Finally a lone farmer appeared raising the congregational count to two. The preacher asked the farmer if he should go ahead and preach since there were only the two of them. The farmer said,

“Well, I’m only a simple farmer. But if I went to the barn to feed the cows

and only one cow showed up to eat, I’d still feed her.”

Hearing this the preacher went ahead and preached. At times his voice raised to shouting. At times he raised his hands and waved his Bible. All to emphasize his biblical points. With sweat pouring down his face the preacher finally finished and then asked the farmer what he thought of the sermon. The farmer said,

“Well, I’m only a simple farmer. But if I went to the barn to feed the cows

and only one cow showed up to eat, I’d still feed her.

But I wouldn’t feed her the whole blasted barn.”

There are certain passages in the Bible that when preached upon it can feel as if you’re just been fed the whole blasted barn. What is called in Matthew the sermon on the mount and here in Luke chapter 6 is referred to as the sermon on the plain is one of those passages. Attempting to preach upon this biblical story can seem to be a daunting task. There is so much spiritual truth packed into so few verses that a person can end up feeling much like apinball machine. You know when your brain goes “tilt, Sorry, game over.” And don’t try to tell me it doesn’t happen to you. Remember, from up here at the pulpit I can see when your eyes glaze over.


When I began High School my parents bought a small farm and so of course my brother, three sisters, and myself were therefore put to work. One of the jobs we all had to do at one time or another was to feed the animals. Sheep, cattle, goats, all with the same generic food - hay. t first we would collect loose hay storing it in the barn loft and simply fork down as much as was needed. But eventually we went to hay bails because you can store more hay when it’s in bails. Now you couldn’t simply toss down a whole bail of hay. It was too tightly bound by rope for the animals to be able to eat. And so to make the hay accessible to eat we had to first cut the rope. Then grabbing the end of the bail we would shake it until we got what we called a sandwich. We would then shake these sandwiches of hay until the hay became loose and easy for the animals to consume. This is what I propose to do with the sermon on the plain. I want to break it down into more manageable sizes for your spiritual consumption


We are told that when Jesus came down and stood on a level place, a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. For power came forth from him, says the writer Luke, and healed them all. Both the multitude and the disciples. And seeing the great longing in the people’s eyes. Hearing the cries for healing and sensing the desperate need of those gathered before him. Jesus takes this moment to teach his disciples, and that includes you and me, a deep spiritual truth from heaven above. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you...” Now do you notice that Jesus didn’t say, you will be blessed. In the end you will be blessed. When this is all over you will be blessed. No! Jesus declares that here and now. Right here and right now is the blessing of God for those would receive it.

So then, who are the blessed? Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. You that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. You that weep now, for you shall laugh. You when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets." In the presence of this great multitude of people in desperate need Jesus declares those gathered there before Him to be divinely blessed. Say what? These people come to Jesus seeking relief from their suffering and Jesus calls them “blessed.” What’s that all about? Does this mean if we want to be “blessed” that we need to remain poor, hungry, weeping, hated? No, that’s not what Jesus is saying. The pivotal verse that unlocks Jesus’ meaning is the line that says, “on account of the Son of man.” The disciples had given up everything to follow Jesus, so he is reassuring them that their decision would be rewarded. Using the crowd as an example Jesus is telling them and us that those who come to him receive what they are seeking. The issue here is one of confession. Those who come to Jesus and confess their need to him receive the answer to their need and are therefore “blessed.” By coming to Jesus with their needs they are also confessing that they recognize that He has to power to heal them all.

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