Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20)
As Jesus continued teaching and ministering throughout Judea, in Jerusalem, and along the coast of Tyre and Sidon, the crowds following Him continued to gather and grow. The people had been waiting for the promised Messiah to free them from Roman rule and reestablish them as a nation, and now here was Jesus, standing in their midst. His healing touch and His powerful teaching gave the crowds cause to believe that everything was about to change for them. And change it did . . . but not in the way the people were hoping or expecting.
The blessings Jesus promised in today’s passage, recorded by the good doctor Luke (6:20-23), also known as “Beatitudes,” are promised in their current condition, right then and right now. Jesus told the people that if they were currently poor, currently hungry, currently mourning, currently excluded, currently reviled, and currently rejected, they were blessed beyond measure. And what was the reason for their current blessed condition — a condition that would seem more like a curse than a blessing to the natural man? The reason was the Son of Man.
This is the condition of the Lord’s people. If we are followers of Jesus — if we are really taking up our cross and following Him — we will be forsaken by the world. It comes down to the difference between the values in the kingdom of God and the values in the kingdom of man. On this side of the grave, the greatest blessing for the followers of Jesus Christ is Christ Himself. Jesus suffered during His time on earth, and so will those who are committed to following Him wherever He leads. In the words of the apostle Paul, “It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29). It has been granted to us to suffer in this lifetime . . . but when we do, we are blessed by God in that condition.
Regardless of where this message finds you today, because you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are blessed beyond measure in your current condition. Here is a truth that needs to be fixed in our hearts: Jesus plus nothing equals everything. And when you breathe your last, you will be received into glory, where we have been assured that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!