Wednesday, February 17
Luke 6:12-26 — Chooses Apostles & The Beatitudes
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20Looking at his disciples, he said:
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Points of Interest:
- (v.13) “whom he also designated apostles”—apostle means “sent out one” or “commissioned one.” Jesus has been commissioned by God, and He is now commissioning these twelve people to share in His work. More than likely, He chose the number twelve in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel.
- (v.20) “Blessed are you”—these are the famous beatitudes, so-called after the Latin for “blessed.” It might be worth considering for a moment what exactly “blessed” means. Some synonyms for blessed are favored, fortunate, or even happy. Perhaps the closest common equivalent to blessed is lucky, if you add in a sense that the luck is God-directed. So, what Jesus is saying here is, “When you’re poor, or hungry, or sad, or hated, that’s when you are really lucky!” When I look at it that way, it takes the beatitudes out of my “Top 10 Beautiful Sentiments Expressed by Jesus” list and moves it straight to the top of my “Top 10 Unsettling and Bizarre Sayings of Jesus” list instead. It gets even stranger when you add in the second half of the teaching, where Jesus says, “I feel sorry for you if you are rich, or satisfied, or laughing, or well-received.” Jesus is making the claim here that our usual measures for when things are going well and when they’re going poorly are 180 degrees off. When we think we’re doomed, we might be in exactly the right place for something great to happen. When we think things are heading in the right direction, we might actually be missing out on something. Of course, it takes a lot of faith in Jesus to trust this advice. It’s helpful to remember that the person who said these things is the same person who healed the leper: He is both willing and able to do wonderful things for people who have faith in Him.
Taking it home:
- For you: Do you find that your efforts toward happiness are often disappointed? Perhaps you need some recalibration. Ask God to point you in the true direction of happiness, and ask him for the faith to keep walking that way.
- For your Six: Jesus wants to bring satisfaction where there is hunger and laughter where there is sorrow. Ask him to fill the empty places in the lives of your Six with good things.
- For our church/ILTJ: In today’s passage, Jesus’ message starts to spread beyond the people who had heard it before. Pray that our church would be a welcoming space for those who are unfamiliar with His message. Much of ILTJ is aimed at helping us do just that. Pray that people who have never met Jesus before would hear good news from Him, and experience healing and freedom from Him.