Our scripture today is Luke 6:17-26.

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 coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. 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.”

In this passage Jesus shares many of the same teachings about blessings we find in the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. However, in Luke’s account of this episode, He also warns the people of the woes that are in store for those who do not follow the guidance He gives. There are rewards for obedience to God’s law and consequences when we fail to live by it.

Notice that these blessings and woes mirror each other, reinforcing the rewards/consequences lesson, and showing us that how we treat each other is very important to God. Jesus tells us that the commandment to love one another is second only to loving God (Matthew 22:39). God loves us immeasurably and wants us to love each other in the same way.

Jesus calls everyone to be in a relationship with God but wants us to know that there are responsibilities attached. Accepting Him as our savior also means setting ourselves against sin and the things of this world. In order to be part of the kingdom, we must change our hearts and lives and live for Him.

Gracious God, thank you for the blessing of our savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to see those who need to be shown Your love and reach out to share with them in Your name. Amen.

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