And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:20-23
Luke gives us a Readers Digest version of the Beatitudes from Jesus teaching during the Sermon on the Mount. If we had only Luke’s version we might make some mistakes as to what Jesus’ meaning were, in particular verses 20 and 21. In verse 20 Luke writes “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Now if we take this verse at face value then we would do the poor a disservice by giving them money and lifting them out of poverty. We would be taking away their blessing.
Let’s look at the same thought from Matthew. In Matthew 5:3 he writes that Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” From Matthew we see that Jesus is not talking about people who are poor monetarily but poor spiritually. These are people who know that what they have spiritually is not enough. They hunger for something more. Something more rewarding that what they have been told. They want what Jesus is offering.
Once again if we only read Luke we see in verse 21 that Luke writes “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” Once again we might see this as a physical need that Jesus is telling us about. But it just does not make sense. Should we let people go hungry in order to let God bless them? Of course not.
Once again if we turn to Matthew we can discern what Jesus is talking about. In Matthew 5:6 he writes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” These are people hungering for righteousness. Once again they have been unfulfilled by the old religion and are looking for something more. That something more is what Jesus came to earth to give us. Jesus’ main concern is not our physical needs but our spiritual needs. No matter how well fed we are and no matter how rich we are if we are not fed and enriched spiritually we will always have an emptiness inside us. This emptiness can only be filled by God through Jesus.
Today’s verses are just an example of why we need to read the entirety of God’s Word and compare like passages. Sometimes a verse that just does not make sense on its own need either the verses around it or a verse or verses from another book of the Bible to fully explain what God means. If we let it God’s Word will interpret and explain itself. When a verse does not make sense alone, stop and think how it makes sense in light of the entire Word of God. When you do this you find that God’s Word is consistent and without contradiction.
Have a blessed day,