The Book of Luke, The Sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes and the Woes – Lesson 73
We will be teaching from Luke 6
Luke’s presentation of the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount contains four “blesseds” which we call beatitudes and it also contains four woes.
We discussed three of our Lord’s “blesseds” last week and we will continue in our lesson today with the last “blessed”.
Then we will discuss the four woes proclaimed by the Lord Jesus Christ as he preached to the Apostles, the company of disciples and the multitudes.
We have said that blessed means Beatitude which means great happiness of the highest kind, it means consummate bliss; it is used to describe the joys of heaven.
Now we may say blessed when we talk among ourselves and we may say Bless you when someone says a kind word to us or does some kind deed for us.
But our blessed is not the same as when the Lord Jesus says Blessed.
Our blessings upon you are more of a hope upon you that God will bless you.
But when the Lord Jesus Christ says blessed it means that most definitely, most assuredly, great happiness of the highest kind will come to the one on whom the pronouncement is made.
And when the Lord Jesus Christ pronounces a Woe it most definitely, most assuredly will come about upon the one on whom that pronouncement is made.
When he speaks Blesseds and Woes they both follow the moral order of God’s creation.
When he told the Apostles that because of their faithfulness to the cause of Christ which will result for them in poverty, hunger, weeping and the reproach of men you can be sure that great happiness of the highest kind will follow the Apostles for the Lord himself has spoken it.
And likewise when riches, fullness, laughter, and the esteem of men come to those who live for themselves you can be sure that “woe”, which means misery, anguish, despair, affliction, wretchedness, and sadness will follow.
When Jesus pronounces blessedness and woes they will come about in a more sure way than the rising of the sun, for God himself has spoken it.
The Lord Jesus Christ began his sermon by pronouncing:
Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.
Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
And the fourth beatitude which we will discuss is:
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.
This beatitude speaks of division.
It speaks of separation of the Apostles from normal relationships with men.
Jesus will tell his disciples later in Luke 12:51, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
One thing you can be certain of as a devoted Christian is being separated or divided from your fellow men.
The idea of separation of the Apostles from their fellow men certainly included, among other things, being cast out of the synagogue for we know from John 9 that the Jews had determined that if any did confess Jesus Christ they would be excluded from the synagogue.
Their names would not only be erased from the rolls of membership but they would become outcasts and subject to scorn and reproach.
This beatitude is given to the Apostles as a promise.
They are told that this separation, this division, will come about but you are not to despair, but you are to consider yourself blessed.
When you are thrown out of the synagogue there is no justification in having long faces, gloom and doom, despair and depression?
Their poverty, their hunger, their suffering and even exclusion from men and loss of reputation is not to be justification for depression.
No, when all these things came about and they would, Jesus expected faith to be displayed for he would supply all the grace that was needed at the appropriate time.
Jesus expected his words to be believed for the reward of the Kingdom of God was to be great.
No hanging heads were to be displayed but rejoicing and leaping for joy was to be shown.
They were not to look down but were to look up.
For he preached to the 12:
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.
When their names were erased from the rolls of the synagogue, they were to see themselves as in good company for the prophets had suffered at the hands of their fathers in like manner.
(This is a test of the Christian. What company do you keep?)
Jesus Christ did not paint a rosy picture on earth for his Apostles, but he tells them as it will be.
He promises no ease, but every hatred, every separation, every reproach, every casting out of your name will be worth it all, for behold your reward is great in heaven.
For all these things were to be done for the Son of Man’s sake because they believed in him and that faith that they exhibited guaranteed a heavenly reward reserved for faithful servants of the Lord.
So no long faces, no “pity me” countenances, no pessimistic viewpoints were justified when faith in the word of Christ was excercised.
They were to rejoice in that day and Jesus described the level of rejoicing, not a weak pitiful level, but a level that brings them to leap for joy.
The message of the beatitudes is that the joy and the blessedness of serving Jesus Christ is so great that anything we must give up to do so, any sufferings we may be called upon to bear, are no great loss to us.
The parable of the “pearl of great price” in Matt. 13:44-46 teaches this truth.
Matt. 13:45-46, Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Once the man had found the “pearl of great price” he gladly sold all so that he had that which to purchase that pearl of great price.
Nothing that he had or even all that he had could compare with that pearl.
If we believe in what comes after, then it is no great loss when we give up lesser things to gain the greatest thing.
Even from a worldly sense this principle is practiced by all who are wise in the pursuit of anything.
We give up immediate pleasures to save our money to buy something that is of lasting pleasure or value.
Athletes give up food and great energy to maintain painstaking training, all for the joy of winning the race.
Sacrifices are a blessing when they lead to greater blessings.
The blessings which Jesus gives are eternal, while those which men and women receive from the world are always temporal and will vanish with time.
There will be no Olympic gold, silver or brass medals going to heaven for they are all temporal and will be left behind.
The medals Jesus gives are eternal, he gives the forgiveness of sins, he gives peace with God, and he gives joy in serving and fellowship.
Discipleship leads to the greatest blessings, so great that wealth, health, and the praise of men or anything this world has to offer have no comparison.
That is what Jesus is saying in this sermon.
How blessed were His disciples!
True, they would become poor, they would experience hunger, and they would be rejected and persecuted.
But in light of the blessings of fellowship with the Son of God these were hardly worthy of being called sacrifices.