Jesus came to transform our hearts to really love others, so watch, listen and follow him all the way home.
17He 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 coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19and 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.
21Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22Blessed are you when men 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 fathers 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.
26Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.
Whenever I read passages like this one, it does make me wonder what it would’ve been like to witness Jesus’ miracles and listen to his sermons live. The people who were around in Jesus’ day were certainly very blessed to witness it. I can only imagine the powerful impact it had on them. After watching and listening to him, I think they would’ve been either inspired to follow Jesus or anxious to know more about who he is. One thing for certain is that he can pull a crowd.
Another thing that intrigues and encourages me is how blessed we are for following Jesus. Despite our circumstances, we are blessed. We are poor, needy, hungry and sad and I’m not talking literally, I’m talking spiritually. I have so many periods and moments in my life when I’m spiritually dry and really needing to seek the Lord in order to break out of a rut. Sometimes I feel dissatisfied and disappointed in what the world has to offer me and I long for something better. Despite all this, Jesus says that we are blessed. There will be a day where we will be satisfied, content and full of joy in the Kingdom of God. People may hate and insult us for putting our trust in Jesus, but we will receive our reward from God.
I also feel overwhelmed that God could be bothered with a sinner like me. I fall so far short of his standards yet he will continue to bless me if I remain faithful. All these blessings are actually unfair because I do so little to deserve them. Even my material blessings are unfair. I have a loving family, great relationships, a unit (which I part own) and a daytime job which gives me great work/life balance (my previous job was at night). I only have all these blessings due to God’s grace. Even playing at the National Indoor Cricket titles was a gift from God. God has blessed us in so many ways and the ultimate blessing, God’s Kingdom, is yet to come.
Head: Why does God bless us despite the fact that we do nothing to earn these blessings?
Heart: How does this passage make you feel about God?
Hands: How can we show gratitude towards God for blessing us as much as he has?
Prayer: Father, thank you for blessing us even though we don’t deserve it. I’m overwhelmed by your grace and mercy towards us. Although we constantly fall into sin and let you down, you continue to love us. Even when we go through seasons of struggle, you continue to bless us with the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. May we always remember this whenever we go through seasons of struggle and use this as encouragement to persevere. In your name, amen.
A song to listen to: Blessed Assurance