The Optimist

The Great Reversal

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."

Sandwiched between the beginning and end of Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount are those teachings from Matthew’s account that overlap: Love your enemies; do not judge; know a tree by its fruit. The Beatitudes are similar but add a twist of meaning and Luke records a woe for each blessing.

As in Matthew, Luke remembers Jesus admonition to put His words into practice because, in so doing, you are building your life on a solid foundation.

Here is the great reversal:

  • Poverty now is no great loss in light of riches in God’s Kingdom; however, self-sufficient riches now can be reversed if that is all you are looking forward to.
  • Hunger in the present is a predictor of ultimate satisfaction whereas premature satisfaction is a predictor of ultimate hunger.
  • Those who weep deeply in this present age can take comfort in a future of laughter because superficial laughter today will give way to deep sorrow tomorrow.
  • Don’t worry if you are hated and maligned for Jesus sake. In fact, rejoice! A great reward is coming. Worry if everyone speaks well of you because that is a mark of false prophets.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”