“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.” (Luke 6:22)
It doesn’t sound like a blessing, does it? Hated, excluded, insulted…why would anyone want to be “blessed” like that? The Master tells it like it is – no secrets, no sugar-coating. Jesus calls us to do what He does and to endure what He endures as well. He wants us to know that the way will not be easy, that following Him is almost certain to be costly and difficult in an earthly sense.
This scripture passage comes to us from Luke’s gospel (6:17-26) and most translations sub-title it “The Sermon on the Plain”. In Matthew’s gospel (5:1-12) it is called “The Sermon on the Mount” and the first section containing this teaching is known as “The Beatitudes”, meaning blessings. When I was a child, I mistook these for the “Be Attitudes”, thinking that we should “be” like this. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad interpretation – if we were in fact like this we’d be much closer to following the path Jesus called us to be on with Him.
Jesus called us all to be part of what He is doing in the world, and taught that we could expect the same type of opposition He faced when we share His story and His love. It may not be easy, but it is the mission we have been given – to make disciples of all the earth.
Loving Lord, You have asked us to be Your partners in the saving work You came to do. Make us willing servants, ready to do the things necessary to bring your kingdom here. Help us to be faithful and strong through difficult times, loving even those who oppose us. Amen.