Sunday 13 February 2022

Bible Book:

'Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.' (v. 21)

Luke 6:17-26 Sunday 13 February 2022

Psalm 1


The beatitudes are a series of blessings and part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Luke's version is much shorter and more direct than we find in Matthew (chapter 5). They start with Jesus coming down to a 'level place' to present them, rather than climbing a mountain as in Matthew's account. Possibly that is a deliberate choice by Luke. He may want to present the beatitudes in a way that is more tied to everyday life rather than to the spiritual mountaintop that Matthew uses. The more direct, practical and hard-hitting set of blessings and woes in Luke appear to be aimed straight at the communities the disciples were part of.

In 4:21 Luke records Jesus saying  “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The scripture he was referring to was Isaiah talking about “good news to the poor”. Therefore, it seems that, in contrast to Matthew who spiritualises poverty, Luke is making it very clear to those listening to him that Jesus' message is about how they live as a community now. Jesus says God has announced the year of the Lord’s favour (Luke 4: 19) and is expecting them to get on and implement it.

In today's passage, Jesus says in verses 22-23 they will be rewarded for being hated, excluded, reviled and defamed on account of Jesus. He says by contrast woes are to come for those who today have enough food, are rich, are laughing and are well spoken of.

It seems to me that Matthew's version of the beatitudes is much better known than Luke's, possibly because by presenting them in a more spiritual way it puts the emphasis on what God is going to do rather than what the disciples are called to do.

Verse 21 in today's reading says "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled." Can we interpret it as “Blessed are you in our community who are hungry now, for you will be filled as we all live as disciples of Jesus and share what we have”? That would be a powerful challenge to our society, which  so often sees the powerful take from the poor on the grounds that they are not trying hard enough to help themselves (the basis for Universal Credit sanctions).

All this has particular relevance for today, which is Racial Justice Sunday, because racism fuels so much poverty, hunger and injustice.


To Ponder:

  • Are you more familiar with the Matthew or Luke beatitudes? Why do you think that is?
  • How do you think we might faithfully respond to these blessings and woes today?
  • We belong to many communities (family, neighbourhood, social club, church, etc). Where might these blessings apply and how?
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