12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot,
16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 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 coast of Tyre and Sidon,
18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured,
19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
25 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.
26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.
Choosing the Twelve (6:12~16)
Jesus’ disciples number in the hundreds, and He needs an inner circle of followers who will be His special envoys. He will spend most of His time with them, teaching them the secrets of God’s kingdom and then sending them out to preach the Good News. The church will be founded through the ministry of these men, and they will become its first pastors and leaders. His apostles will play a crucial role in history, so before Jesus chooses them, He retreats to a mountainside and prays. Jesus’ life is marked by prayer. He prays before every critical decision He makes. Even though He is God the Son, He humbles Himself before the Father; He is always in tune with His Father’s will. A prayerful heart should be the mark of every spiritual leader and indeed every child of God.
- How often do you pray before making critical decisions? What major decision is God calling you to pray about right now?
The Blessed Life (6:17~26)
In this short sermon, Jesus redefines the blessed life. In our world today, material blessings and physical health are considered signs of God’s favor. However, a truly blessed life is not determined by the standards of the world but according to the principles of the kingdom of God. We do not usually associate poverty, hunger, weeping, or persecution with being blessed. On the contrary, we do our best to avoid these things in our pursuit of worldly blessings. Jesus’ declaration here reveals a stark contrast between the values of this world and those of the kingdom of God. If we try to seek fulfillment through worldly wealth, we are only setting ourselves up for failure because all of these things are corruptible. Jesus is our greatest reward, and nothing in this world compares to the riches of His love.
- What do you find most challenging in Jesus’ description of the one who is blessed? Why?
A letter to God
Jesus, You are my greatest reward; nothing compares to You. Help me to love You and seek Your kingdom rather than the things of this world. In Your name I pray. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.