Tuesday, December 19, 2006



In the 6th chapter of Luke, beginning with verse 17, we again see Jesus surrounded by people from all around the region:
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, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

NOTE this mini-seminar of Jesus is not on the mount as in Matthew 5-7, but on the plain. There is wide spectrum of people from all over the coastal region to the west and all the way from Judea and Jerusalem. Jesus continually taught those who would listen about the kingdom. He’s at it again here with the teaching and the touching of the kingdom. Jesus didn’t just talk a good game; He practiced it.

Also NOTE that Jesus uses four metaphors in this message—poverty, hunger, weeping and personal rejection. Let’s look at them.

Looking at his disciples, he said: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 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. "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

"But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 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. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Jesus is not exalting poverty, but illustrating a person who senses his or her need for something. He uses this with all four illustrations here—poor, hungry, weeping, rejected. In each case Jesus is describing a person who senses his need for God. Those who are poor are those who own and embrace the kingdom of God. Those who are hungry know real satisfaction. Those who weep have a laughter of joy in their hearts that sustains them. Those who are hated and rejected, feeling on the outside, can stop right now and rejoice.

Those who live life in the invisible kingdom of God are vitally aware of their need for God. Those who are rich tend to believe they have no need for God or anyone. Those who are well fed don’t sense a need for God’s feeding. Those who laugh will be weeping and mourning when they understand that they have missed the real thing—the real life—the kingdom of God.

In addition to sensing your need for God, Jesus is stressing that there are two kingdoms. You are living between two kingdoms now that the kingdom of God is here and accessible to you on earth. This fits with what Jesus told the religious leadership. He said that He came as a physician seeking to help those who are sick, not the healthy.

So, Jesus uses these four metaphors to speak of spiritual poverty, hunger, weeping and rejection. And He carefully points out the blessings for those who sense their need for God:
FIRST—You own the kingdom of heaven.
SECOND—You have an indescribable satisfaction.
THIRD—You have a laughter in your heart.
FOURTH—You can rejoice in the midst of being hated, rejected and excluded from man’s kingdoms.

Why? Because you are living life in a different sphere—the sphere that you were created to live in. You see, you were created to live your life according to the kingdom of heaven. It makes sense to live life this way. It’s natural or better yet, it’s supernaturally natural.

This is why I’ve said for years that in order to turn the world upside down, you must turn man rightside up. And, Jesus through His kingdom is the only way to that kind of personal transformation. Here we are again, back to the two most important issues in the universe—the person of Jesus and His program, the kingdom of God. A friend of mine appropriately calls it “The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person.”