Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week, as part of our series on the identity of Jesus, we’re going to study how Jesus is worth following. Yesterday I reminded us how things go viral today, and how they might have gone viral a little differently in the past. Jesus and his movement certainly grew quickly by first century standards, but why? What made him worth following? You might think it would be a crowd-pleasing, pandering, easily swallowed message, but what Jesus regularly taught was a great deal more challenging.
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, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“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! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. (Luke 6:17-26 ESV)
Once again, Jesus shows people the kingdom of God, then tells them about it.
He heals people who’ve struggled with evil for years, who would have been outcasts, impoverished and sick. He blesses them with new life and hope. Then he goes and adds to that list – blessed are all these other people you wouldn’t expect to be blessed!
These are called the beatitudes – a famous list of “Blessed Are” sayings that Jesus used to kick off his most famous series of teachings – the Sermon on the Mount.
We actually kicked off Redeem the commute’s daily challenges in the Fall of 2012 with a whole series on the Beatitudes, so check out our archives if you really want to dig in!
But in the meantime, we’ll study these at a really high level, to see what made Jesus so attractive to crowds of people. What did they see in him?
Question: What do you find attractive about these “Blessed are” statements? What do you find troubling?