Daily Reflections · Priest's Perspective

Daily Gospel Reflection – Luke 6:12-23

28 October 2021

12In those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God. 13When daylight came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated as apostles: 14Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alphaeus and Simon called the Zealot; 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

17Then Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of His disciples was there, along with a great number of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18They had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases, and those troubled by unclean spirits were healed. 19The entire crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.

20Looking up at His disciples, Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,

for yours is the kingdom of God.

21Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you will laugh.

22Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For their fathers treated the prophets in the same way.

On Tuesday the Country will go to the election polls to vote in the municipal elections. We will vote for councillors and Political Party’s to care for the people of the country by providing essential services and infrastructure that our society needs to function. The Politicians are there to oversee the just distribution of the Municipal budgets and to implement the manifesto of transformation and upliftment that their ideology focuses on. These manifestos have been broadcast at varies rallies and on the campaign trial and of course across the various media platforms.

Majority rules means that the more votes a specific party gets in a specific area the more influence that ideology will have in the local government and the more power they will have to transform the society at local level.  

When people are called to power, they are given a mandate according to the manifesto of how things will work under their government. In the world these Governments seek to promote the well being of their constituents for the furtherment of their purposes.

Here Jesus calls his leadership together, note the diversity of character in the twelve – and of course the significance of the 12 representing the whole of Israel. Here Jesus reunites the divided Israel.

First manifesto point  – the mind of humankind divided Israel and civil war ravaged the divided nations who ended up in Exile. Judah and Israel divided against each other fell. Jesus reunites the people of God. A critical thing to remember as we journey with different churchmanship’s, denominations, persuasions of faith. In Christ we who are many are one body for we are all in Christ the crucified and Risen Lord.

We know that Jesus spoke to the Disciples about the way that they were to lead differently to the leaders of the world, and that ours is a servanthood position on earth.

As we have seen working through the Gospel of Luke, Jesus constantly challenged the Pharisaic idea of superiority and self-righteousness. The returning exiles prided themselves on strict adherence to the embellished Mosaic law to a moral code and to exclusionary practices to keep themselves pure. They cursed whom God cursed and blessed whom God blessed. Sickness, poverty and infirmity were a curse from God, a punishment for sin and excluded you from mainstream religious society. But these poor in body and spirit were useful when you wanted to show off acts of righteousness. One looks good in the eyes of onlookers when standing next to a filthy beggar and the people can see how much more righteous you are in your fine clothes. Unfortunately, these sins persist to this day.

Back to the manifesto – Blessed are the…. and you can feel the expectation in the hearer who has just been prayerfully selected, and obviously drawn into the inner circle of the Messiah – it’s as if they were already hearing the words – blessed are they who can ask anything in my name and it will be granted to them. Blessed are they who are praised for their holiness and special standing in the community.

Oh, what a shock when the words came off the lips of the saviour. Blessed are the poor, the hungry the weeping. To this day those words have to travel a few times through our minds before we realise that Jesus actually said them.

And I can imagine the first thing that disciples would have thought, and I am sure that before we have meditated on these words the same applies to us; our first thought is that we are the called and now He’s blessing someone else. But note the contrast between the religious leaders of the day and the disciples. The disciples saw their need of a Saviour. Though they were schooled in the Jewish law they were hungry for what Jesus offered, they were not self-righteous and they wept for their sins.  You see we are blessed not when we have got it all worked out, but when we see and acknowledge our need of God. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

The Manifesto of the Christian as we have seen over this last month working through Luke and as is so well articulated here, the Manifesto of Christ is that we are to have a bias for the poor and that our lives are meant to be lived to uplift others. The flesh wants dominance and power, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to have compassion and to live simply and caringly. This manifesto calls us to live for others and not just ourselves. To give of ourselves to the work of the Kingdom for the benefit of others and not just for ourselves. The religious leaders of Jesus time had one objective – to find favour with God and be elevated above everyone else. If we look to the Church in the world today, we are guilty of the same sin. Christianity has become all about me getting my ticket to heaven and everlasting life; and as long as I am going to heaven , I have achieved the purpose of life.

But that is not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught that you need to live the kingdom here and now, a kingdom of caring for others especially the outcasts and the broken. The treasures of heaven are the poor and vulnerable.  You are treasured in heaven when you act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

My prayer is that as we have spent these few moments each day reflecting on the Gospel of Luke that you will have seen the need to reorder our lives in Christ. May we recognise in us the Pharisee and fall to our knees and receive forgiveness.    May we own up to our poverty and the illness of sin; and come to Jesus for healing; and may we live for each other in the love and with the love and through the love of Christ.

But understand this – you are the blessed. You are the beloved, God loves you and he wants to uplift you and heal you and despite the way that the world keeps breaking you down, God is raising you up. and so be of good courage. whatever you are facing today, know this. The Lord is with you. Like the blind man on the side of the road, with the crowd shouting him down, the noise of life may be making it difficult to hear Jesus voice but he is calling you to come and ask for healing and for hope. So cheer up. Hear the word of the Lord calling to you today. for blessed are you when you realise your need of Him.

Amen.

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