Monday, February 9, 2015, 1:17 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 6:17-26 (NASB).
A Great Throng
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.
And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say…
Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath. The Scribes and the Pharisees were watching him carefully so they might find a reason to accuse him. After he healed the man, the Pharisees and Scribes were filled with rage and discussed what they might do to Jesus. So, Jesus then spent the night on a mountain in prayer to his Father in heaven.
In the morning he gathered together his twelve disciples whom he had chosen. He came down from the mountain with them and stood on a level place. Although there was a large crowd of people who had come to hear him speak, it appears that he directed these thoughts specifically toward his disciples. A disciple is a follower, believer and a student. So, these were people who believed in Jesus Christ, who were following after him, and who were being taught by him.
The Poor in Spirit
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
This word translated here as “poor” can mean those who are physically poor with regard to not having much at all in the way of material wealth, or it can mean those who are “poor in spirit,” i.e. those who are humble, who realize their need of a Savior, and that they have nothing in themselves whereby they could ever attain heaven or gain God’s approval. They realize their own righteousness is as filthy rags, that they are lost, that they are sinners, and that they need Jesus Christ to save them from their sins.
I believe the context of this passage favors this latter meaning of the word “poor,” and thus this is to be understood that it is those who have humbled themselves before God, who have acknowledged and have repented of their sins, who have believed in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and their Savior, and who have trusted in him to meet all of their needs who have the promise and hope of eternal life with God both now and forevermore. His kingdom, nonetheless, should not be viewed merely as the place we go when we die, but it entails the life of the church here on earth, as well, and all that is promised to us by God for those who believe in him in the way of spiritual blessings, ministry, and spiritual fruit and harvest, etc.
Who Hunger Now
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.”
Again, I believe the context here favors that we translate these words, not in the natural sense, but rather in a spiritual sense. In other words, this is speaking of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. We will be satisfied. So, what does that mean exactly? I believe to hunger and thirst after righteousness (after God) means to desire intimacy with God and to want to be in fellowship with him and to crave his Word as one would hunger after food or thirst after a cool and refreshing cup of water on a hot day. Most of us would not think about starving ourselves to death, in a natural sense, but how many who profess the name of Jesus spiritually starve themselves because they do not hunger and thirst after righteousness but only have a casual or passing interest in God/Jesus?
Yet, when we long to be with our Lord, to spend time with him daily at his feet listening to him speak his words to our hearts, and we yearn to learn from him all that he has for our lives, and we desire to please him in all that we do and say and are, we will not come up empty. He will fill us to overflowing with all that we need to live godly and holy lives in this present age while we wait for his return. He will comfort us when we are downcast, he will bring joy to our hearts when we are sad, he will instruct us in the way we should go, and he will teach us and guide us and encourage us, too. We will never be lacking any good thing.
Who Weep Now
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”
This is speaking to Jesus’ followers. Jesus said his sheep listen to him and they follow him (in obedience). So, for those of us who are following the Lord Jesus, I believe there is a promise for us of joy now and joy yet to come in heaven when he wipes all the tears from our eyes. First of all, I believe this weeping has to do with our weeping over sin, not just feeling badly that we sinned, but the kind of sorrow that leads to repentance and to changed hearts and lives by the grace of God. That sorrow is turned to joy when we accept God’s great salvation into our lives and we are set free from slavery to sin and we are now able, by the grace of God, to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Being delivered out of that pit of sin and being set free brings so much joy! Amen!
In this life, though, we will also face many sorrows. I just recently lost a sister to death, and that was a sad day in some ways, because she is no longer with us, but it was also a happy day in that we know she is with Jesus, and thus we rejoice. As well, we face sickness, injury, personal loss, concern over unsaved loved ones, hardships, persecutions, rejections, betrayal, etc. And, all those hurt. Yet, Jesus sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, and he brings much comfort and encouragement into our lives, and so that fills us with joy.
Who Are Persecuted
“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.”
Jesus said that if we are his followers we will be hated and mistreated just as he was hated and mistreated, and even put to death. He was hated because he claimed to be God, who he is, and because he told people the truth about their sins. When we preach the full gospel message, and we tell the truth about sin, and we call people to repentance and obedience, we will not gain many friends in this life, but we may gain many enemies, even within the church, and even among church leadership in churches where they water down the gospel to make it more palatable and appealing to human flesh. We may even be asked to leave certain church congregations because we hold to the truths of scripture, and because we teach the full gospel message, and we don’t bow to the wisdom of human flesh.
Yet, we are in good company, for that his how they treated Jesus and the prophets and the apostles, too. We should consider ourselves blessed to be treated thus for the sake of Christ and for the sake of his gospel, not that we go about purposefully trying to incite people, but because we speak the truth of God’s word in the hope that it may bring healing, comfort, encouragement, hope and salvation to all who will listen and who will heed its counsel. As well, we are to be glad and leap for joy when we are treated thus, because God is using us in other people’s lives for his glory and for their good to bring them to faith in Jesus or to help them to grow and to mature in their faith, so we should rejoice!
Woe To The Self-Sufficient
“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.”
Nonetheless, if we are self-sufficient, live for the moment without regard to our future, don’t even acknowledge our need of God or our own sinfulness, think we can make it on our own, live to entertain ourselves and live for self-pleasure and self-gratification, and have little to no concern at all for others’ eternal destiny or for their deliverance from sin’s deceitfulness, then the kingdom of God is not ours, we will never be fully satisfied, our happiness is only temporary and fleeting, and we have no eternal rewards awaiting us in heaven. Jesus’ sheep listen to him, not just with their ears, but with their hearts, and they follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for their lives, not in absolute perfection, and not without fault, but they are consistent in their thirst and hunger after God and his word.
Since Jesus said that if we follow him and we do what he says and we are like him in thought, word and deed, we will be hated and persecuted, if nearly everyone likes us and speaks well of us, then I would question why that is so. I realize that not everyone who is liked is liked because they live only for themselves, nor is everyone who is hated treated so because they are followers of Christ and they walk in obedience to him. Yet, if nearly everyone likes us and speaks well of us, and if we are generally not hated at all, then I think we should search the scriptures and seek God’s face and ask him why. Perhaps it is because, although we claim to know Christ, we are not really walking in fellowship with him, and we are not truly his disciples, and we are not different from the world and set apart for God and for his service, and so the world has no reason to hate us because we are too much like them. If this is true of you, I pray you will allow God to change your heart today.
Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.