The Book of Luke, The Sermon on the Mount – Lesson 72
Luke 6:20-23, And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Christ preached of His Kingdom.
His Kingdom is a Kingdom of Righteousness.
Righteousness as defined in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary – Purity of Heart and rectitude (exact conformity to truth) of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. As used in the scriptures and theology, it is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty, and virtue, goodness, decency and integrity with holy affections; in short, righteousness is true religion.
The Kingdom of Righteousness was at hand and the Lord Jesus came down from a night of prayer on the mountain to address those who have chosen to follow him and those of the multitudes that are there for many reasons including desires to be healed by this great healer.
The message of the Sermon on the Mount is central to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and this Sermon speaks to the character of this Kingdom of Righteousness.
There were three groups who had come to hear this message.
The first group that Jesus spoke to was his newly appointed Apostles.
The next group was the remaining disciples and the last group was the multitude of people that came from far and wide to hear this preacher whose fame, we are told, had gone to distant places.
Jesus began this sermon with what are called the “Beatitudes.”
Beatitude means blessedness, great happiness of the highest kind, it means consummate bliss; it is used to describe the joys of heaven.
Blessed in a short definition means well off as far as God is concerned.
Matthew, in his Gospel includes eight beatitudes, while Luke includes only four.
Jesus Christ began his message by speaking to his Apostles because their lives as Apostles will be characterized by poverty, hunger, weeping, hatred, and reproach.
This message is fitting for Apostles for these 12 men, less Judas, had now forsaken all.
And because of forsaking all they were now or would be of the poor, they were now or would be of the hungry, they were now or would be of the weeping and they would be of the hated and stand with those of no valued reputation among men.
This message is not a pessimistic message but a message of encouragement and a message that promises reward for exercising faith in serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is an important message to the Apostles in light of what will be taking place in the next year.
For in this message he pronounces four “blesseds” upon the Apostles.
These four “blesseds” are the Beatitudes.
Remember when you read this that Beatitude means blessedness, great happiness of the highest kind, consummate bliss; it is used to describe the joys of heaven.
It is interesting how poverty, hunger, weeping, hatred, reproach, and loss of reputation, leads to consummate bliss, great happiness of the highest kind in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of Righteousness.
So when Jesus pronounces “blessed be ye” he is saying that when that day comes you are to: 23Rejoice…., and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven:
We discussed the first Blessed last week for Jesus said to the Apostles “Blessed be ye poor.”
When our Lord said poor he did not confine this to a lack of money for this word means much more than that.
The sense of this word means to be frightened, to be intimidated and in a broader sense to be destitute of influence, position, or honors.
It literally means to crouch, to cringe as a pauper, to be distressed.
In essence it means to be beggarly.
The picture that the Lord gives is of a man, who in the estimation of the world is nothing.
This is what lies ahead for these 12 men and we know that that is what took place in the lives of 11 of these Apostles, Judas the exception for he hung himself.
Paul, the Apostle, not of the original twelve, but an Apostle, tells us in I Cor. 4:7-13, that the Apostles:
that they were a spectacle,
that they were fools for Christ’s sake,
that they were weak and despised,
that they hungered and thirsted,
that they were naked, and buffeted, with no certain dwelling place,
that they were reviled, and persecuted, and defamed, and made the filth of the world,
in sum they were the off scouring of all things.
Offscouring means that which is scoured off.
It is the residue of that which dirties the water when you wash the floor; it is that which is disposed of when a pot is cleaned.
That is why you use the scouring pad, it scours off that which you do not want on the pot.
The cleaned pot is kept to be used again but the product of the scouring is disposed of as worthless and greatly desired to be rid of, for it is vile and despised as nothing.
Perhaps these 12 were quite proud of their selection from the other disciples as Apostles but they are quickly told by their Master what lies ahead.
For these men that our Lord is speaking of as poor have forsaken all to follow Christ; and are now or will be despised by their former friends.
The very command to follow Jesus Christ includes within it the very real possibility of being poor, of being frightened, of being cowed, and destitute of influence, position or honor.
But this realization of being poor is not to be the prominent thought in their minds; it is not to be dwelled upon, because Jesus Christ lifts them up in this condition by pronouncing a blessing upon them that is to bring great happiness of the highest kind, a bliss that is complete.
It is to bring rejoicing.
Not just average or moderate rejoicing but rejoicing that results in leaping for joy.
It is a joy that is worthy of excitement and great enthusiasm.
These 12 had accepted this position of Apostle and now Jesus Christ tells them of their great compensation for their worldly loss by saying that they are blessed because theirs is the Kingdom of God and their reward is great in heaven.
The second beatitude or blessing concerns hunger.
Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled.
The Gospel of Matthew says this in a more descriptive way.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
This indicates that among the Apostles there was a yearning to know Christ in a more intimate way for his was the Kingdom of Righteousness.
Don’t you suppose that this hunger to know Christ was considered in their selection as Apostles?
In them there was a desire to partake of spiritual food, to eat of the bread of life and Jesus Christ tells them that this yearning in itself makes them well off or blessed as far as God is concerned.
God desires for believers to hunger and thirst after righteousness for that hunger and thirst in itself puts you in a blessed condition.
This kind of hunger will not be ignored by God but will always be satisfied.
This is great encouragement to any believer who also has that hunger, for God will always satisfy, and that hunger after righteousness will always be filled.
There may be a famine of righteousness in the land but God wants us to live with a hunger for righteousness and you can be sure that hunger will be satisfied.
It is satisfied on this earth by partaking of the bread of life and it will be satisfied in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ for his Kingdom is a Kingdom of Righteousness.
The third Beatitude is: Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Matthew’s Gospel reads in this manner: Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
The idea that the Lord Jesus Christ presents to his Apostles is that of suffering for the Kingdom’s or Christ’s sake.
Paul in Romans also preached this same principle to the church.
Romans 8:18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
This same theme of suffering is carried through in the fourth beatitude or blessing when Jesus says: