One on One With Jesus, Part 3

Have you ever heard someone say, ‘You are really thriving in this environment’?  

Are you thriving in the Kingdom of God?

Luke 6:20-38

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.


Those who thrive in the realm of God’s Kingdom are strange people. Strange indeed. They physically live on earth but their heads are somewhere else. This world is not their home. They are sojourners in a foreign land; visitors, ambassadors, ex-pats. 

Jesus has chosen the twelve and is now fixing His gaze upon them to lay down the ground rules for thriving in His kingdom. These Kingdom principles are quite different from anything the disciples have ever heard before.  

Jesus has chosen you as well and He is about to guide you toward success in His Kingdom. You can thrive in the kingdom of Jesus. But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Are you ready?  

Jesus is about to teach us about the attitudes and actions of a Kingdom citizen. First, how to be saved and then how to act. Our good actions and acts do not save us. We are saved by faith when we humble ourselves before God. He teaches this lesson in verses 20-26. Then He will give practical rules for Kingdom living (while here on earth) in verses 27-38. 


Be Blessed 

The Bible is clear that the blessings of life on earth come from the Lord and He imparts them first, according to the attitude of our heart. Then what follows is our calling of obedience. 

First, Jesus gives four blessings and four corresponding woes.


What is a woe? It is an exclamation of denouncement. It’s a pronouncement of warning of pending doom. It’s not good. Not good at all. 

Okay, so let’s avoid the attitudes and actions that cause the woes. Got it? Good. What about the blessings?  


Blessed: to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity (the ability to produce, to produce abundance), longevity, etc. One who is blessed is given a rich and abundant life. 

When we say we are blessed, we are saying we are living a rich and abundant life far beyond what we deserve. Being blessed is good. Let’s pursue the attitudes and actions that bring about the blessings of God. OK?  


Here are the four blessings and the four woes. 

  • Blessed are the poor. Woe are the rich.  
  • Blessed are the hungry. Woe to those who are well-fed now. 
  • Blessed are you who weep now. Woe to you who laugh now.  
  • Blessed are you when men hate you. Woe to you when men speak well of you. 


A little strange, huh? These first three blessings and woes are dealing with the heart of a person. The clearest reference to the first three blessings and the first three woes is the story Jesus tells in Luke 18:10-14. The tax-collector was spiritually poor, hungry, and sorrowful. The pharisee was religiously rich, well-fed, and happy with himself. 


And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 

The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: God, I thank You that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.   

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner! I tell you; this man went to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. 


Entrance into the kingdom (salvation) is for those who acknowledge the poverty of their spiritual lives and their need of a Savior. Once saved, the Kingdom citizen remains humble and acknowledges that everything they have comes from God. These are the blessed ones. 

Entrance is denied to those who trust in their own righteousness or the righteousness of religious activities. Woe is upon them…unless they turn their heart to God in humility and surrender. 


Be blessed, my friends. Acknowledge your spiritual poverty, mourn over your sin, and hunger for the fulness of Jesus. 


Father, you not only give life in salvation but you also enrich our lives here on earth. In this life, we will have difficulty. But you have overcome the world and in spite of the challenges we face, You have promised peace, joy and sustaining grace to those who love You and obey Your Word. Give us our minds and hearts to understand the joy of being (spiritually) poor and hungry and mournful. Help us also know the joy of suffering as you suffered when others hate us for our faith in You. In all these things, we surrender ourselves to Your will and Your guidance of our lives. Amen!