READING: LUKE 6:17-26
17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch Him, for power came out from Him and healed them all. 20 And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
1. Read this passage and also the corresponding account of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12. What similarities and differences do you see between the two? If the two events are different occasions, how do you account for the material that is similar between them?
2. Why do you think Luke records that Jesus healed people and cast out demons from people? Why was this necessary do you think before Jesus began teaching?
3. To whom does Luke tell us that Jesus addressed His teaching? Why is that important?
4. List the four blessings and explain what they mean. Who does the blessing? Who is blessed? Is there indication here that people will be made poor, hungry, tearful and unpopular by the fact they follow Jesus? Have you counted on that cost for your discipleship?
5. List the four woes and explain what they mean. What four groups did Jesus single out for woes? Are there circumstances where reading the four woes might call a Christian to repent of his or her lifestyle or attitudes?
6. Jesus makes a point of repeating the words 'now' and 'shall' (meaning 'in the future'). Consider the following statements and choose one:
- Christianity can be accurately characterized by delayed gratification.
- Christianity can be accurately characterized as seeking a present blessing and experience.
- Christianity can be characterized by both a present blessing and experience, AND by delayed gratification.
- Christianity can be accurately characterized by none of the above.
Explain your choice (and if in a group, to the group). How does your choice have a bearing on the decisions you are making about how to live your life in these 4 areas that Jesus speaks to?
7. How has reading this passage affected your plans going forward? What will you do specifically and differently having read these blessings and woes? Ask for prayer to change in one or more of these areas.