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Beggarly, hungry, weeping, and rejected

Updated: Mar 1, 2019


So, know where to find your joy in life. Thank God for days – beggarly, hungry, weeping, and rejected days – that send us running to Jesus for the joy we long for! The greatest blessings we enjoy do not come from within us nor are they dependent on circumstances in our lives. Though our reason may never fully understand it, those days that send me running to Jesus, are our best days!  Find the joy in Christian discipleship always in Jesus!



“Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”


Luke 6:17-26


17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,

for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when men hate you,

when they exclude you and insult you

and reject your name as evil,

because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,

for you have already received your comfort.

25 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.

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,

for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.


Dear Friends,


Where does a person go to find his joy in life? For most, the undying urge to find joy in life is all about self. What makes me happy. We look for joy in being self-absorbed, self-serving on our way to self-centered and self-sufficient and self-satisfied. Jesus urges us in our text to find joy in the most unlikely of places. Let us learn today how to …


Find the Joy in Christian Discipleship

Your Savior is amazing

Your weaknesses are a blessing

Your reward is in heaven


In the verses just before our text we hear that Jesus had spent the night in prayer and the next morning he picked out 12 of his disciples and designated them apostles! Their names are listed. We are not told that there was anything particularly special about them. Jesus simply chose them for special service in his kingdom. They must have wondered what life was going to be like for them as they followed Jesus.

Then our text begins: “He went down with them (that is the apostles he had just chosen) and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon to hear him and to be healed of their diseases.” People walked – some as much as 50-60 miles just to hear and watch Jesus! So, “this is what Christian discipleship is all about” the apostles must have thought to themselves.


We are following a rock star! Everywhere we go people are going to wish they were us! They must have thought that day that this life of following Jesus is going to be great! And maybe they were beginning to think inside their sinful minds that maybe they would have special places of honor and glory in God’s kingdom because they are his apostles. Oh, what a great life we have as we follow Jesus!


The crowds that day wanted to hear and be healed. My friends, remember that there are all kinds of people you know who really want to hear about Jesus. Look at how many people are searching for some voice to tell them something positive, something good and hopeful, that they can cling to! You have the only message that saves! You have the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to share with the whole world! People will listen because we do have an amazing Savior who offers great joy to those who follow him!


Not only were people amazed at his teaching, they were amazed by his miracles! He cured diseases. He drove out demons. He healed people who were in his presence! All knew that the healing they received came from Jesus! So, the crowds might have thought what the disciples might have thought: Following Jesus is fantastic! Do you think that the people there that day might have thought that the joy of Christian discipleship is found in Jesus making life easier somehow?


Wouldn’t we all like to think that way? I am truly blessed when my children listen to me and do what I say. I am truly blessed when my work is appreciated, and my paycheck reflects it! I am truly blessed when my investments reach an all-time high. I am truly blessed when I and my loved ones are enjoying good health.

To that, Jesus says “No.” That wasn’t true for the apostles and it is not true for us either. Jesus will preach what we know as the Sermon on the Mount to address himself to the misguided thinking about what our best days look like. He stunned the crowd that day and still stuns us by revealing to us that the way we picture our best days – rich in what makes us comfortable, satisfied with what fills our tummy and life, laughing our way from one success to another, praised and respected by all – all these things fall under “woes” not “blessings”! It is a foretaste of what Jesus would later say to the Christians in Laodicea: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17) This is where Jesus teaches us a twist to the joy of Christian discipleship.


Jesus taught his followers that day that your weaknesses are a blessing! To be blessed is to be happy, joyful. Don’t short change yourself from seeing the joy that comes from heartache. He says, “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 men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”


Jesus wants us to see ourselves as beggars, that is, he wants us to look within and without in our lives and find that we are pitifully short of what we need to have a right relationship with God. The days we see ourselves that way Jesus calls our best and most blessed days. Jesus longs for us to see how empty and poor we are without him. It is then, that he pours the riches of his forgiving grace into our hearts and souls. Then, “yours is the kingdom of God!”


Jesus wants us to find ourselves hungry even when we have filled our bellies and lives with all the empty wrappings the world wants us to think can give us full and satisfying lives. The world doesn’t know how to bless us! Jesus wants hunger pangs to strike our bodies and souls. Jesus is the one “who satisfies our desires with good things” (Ps 103:5). Those who discover that this empty world only leaves us hungry are invited to find that in Jesus “you will be satisfied.”


Then Jesus tells us “blessed are you who weep now.” Really? How can there be any joy in weeping? Don’t you find yourself horrified that Satan is still able to twist your mind into doing the same sinful things even after being a Christian for all these years? And God’s once perfect world is decimated by human atrocities daily as it lurches toward its doom. I’m supposed to be blessed as I weep over the shame of it all? Yes! The triumph of heaven awaits you! For all whose cheeks are wet with tears “You will laugh” because you know that God himself will never allow his victorious Christ to be dethroned.


And where’s the joy when people hate you, exclude you, insult you, reject you for being a Christian? Jesus calls you blessed when you have those awkward conversations with your friends defending God’s truth when people don’t want to hear it. In today’s world people can always find someone to tell them what they want to hear. God, however, has enabled you to love your friends enough to “speak the truth in love” to them. When you have those conversations, Jesus says, “rejoice!”


Let’s remember Jesus is NOT saying that we cannot enjoy the earthly blessings he sends our way. He is NOT hinting that we dare not enjoy anything in this world as though it were all “un-Christian.” He is NOT urging us to “wipe that smile off your face” and live as if you didn’t have a friend in the world. Jesus does not hinder us from finding joy where God has blessed us. But he is saying that those are not our best and most blessed days! Our best blessings are not even remotely dependent on anything the world has to offer. Our best blessings are found when all of those “good day” elements are missing.  In fact, on the very days we are ready to label as our “worst,” our Lord Jesus asks us to pause and see things as they really are.  Paul said it so eloquently in the second lesson today: “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).


“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.  For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” The prophets of Old had many “bad days” at the hands of people who rejected the Word of God. Always remember the “reward in heaven” that awaits you for Jesus’ sake. God has loved you with an unconditional love. It is the foundation of your life and your eternal hope. Whatever you are going through in life is remember, always remember, that heaven is your home. Nothing can take that away from you!

Oh, by the way, Jesus has some “woes” to those who see themselves as rich, satisfied, happy and successful. They’ve already received everything they could hope for. They have no need for Christ in their life. Sorrow, hunger, mourning and apostasy will nag them eternally.


So, know where to find your joy in life. Thank God for days – beggarly, hungry, weeping, and rejected days – that send us running to Jesus for the joy we long for! The greatest blessings we enjoy do not come from within us nor are they dependent on circumstances in our lives. Though our reason may never fully understand it, those days that send me running to Jesus, are our best days!  Find the joy in Christian discipleship always in Jesus!


Amen.

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