Luke brings us Jesus’ message of the beatitudes again. We did a very slow study of them from Matthew’s writings. Luke pared his narrative down to four of the nine that Matthew lists. We know the Holy Spirit inspired each of the gospel writers. I wonder why He chose this smaller list for Luke. Was it because of the intended audience? Or was it because Matthew had already done an in-depth accounting of Jesus’ words?
Luke will carry this abbreviated version of the rest of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. Since Luke is using an abbreviated version, and we covered Matthew’s account pretty deeply, we are going to cover all of Luke’s highlighted beatitudes in one setting.
Luke starts off by telling us that Jesus was addressing His disciples when He said these things. Looking at the ones chosen definitely apply to Jesus’ newly appointed disciples. The disciples would each experience the things Jesus was talking about, especially after His resurrection. Jesus cared for all of His disciples’ needs while He walked with them. They experienced in a small part the last of His beatitudes. They were hated and reviled for believing in and following Him. Jesus protected them from the worst of it.
The conditions Jesus was telling His disciples they would face were poverty, hunger, sorrow and persecution. These conditions are a little different from Matthew’s account. Matthew related spiritual conditions where Luke shares physical ones.
Jesus promised His disciples that there was a reward for them for their devotion to Him and His words. They may be poor in this life but they hold the promise of an inheritance in God’s Kingdom. They may face hunger but they will be satisfied at the very least at the supper of the Lamb. Though this world held sorrow for them, especially at Jesus’ crucifixion, joy would be theirs in abundance. Finally, they would face persecution and even lose their lives for Jesus’ names’ sake; they would receive a true reward in Heaven. Nothing that was surrendered on Earth could even hold a candle to the reward waiting in Heaven.
This applies to us too. When we suffer as a result of doing the work Jesus calls us to do, we can be certain He has more than enough reward for us in Heaven. The reward is not the reason we choose to follow Him. We choose Him because of His love for us. The rest is just a bonus.
These are also the very people Jesus sent His disciples to minister to. He sends us on this same mission today. Whenever we serve one of these souls in His name, He says we are doing it to Him. “When did I ever see You hungry… or in prison?”… “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 23:37-40).
Lord Jesus, thank You for the love You poured out for me. I do not deserve any of it, but I’ll gladly accept it. And because of my love for You I will follow wherever You lead me. You have provided for my needs so fully. I haven’t had to face nearly the hardships Your disciples had to endure. I’m more than grateful for that. You called me to a different role. I know I don’t always fulfill it as well as I should and for those lapses I am truly sorry. Lord help me live the life You want me to live. Let me be Your witness in all I do. Thank You for trusting me with Your word. Nothing of my own but yours alone.