Blessed are you when men hate you... and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son
Luke 6:12-38 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. 19 And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.
20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 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. 23 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. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
The kingdom of heaven which Jesus spoke of is sometimes referred to as an upside-down kingdom. In many ways it is in direct contrast with the norms of our society and culture. Look at the things that Jesus says: “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. But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” The love of the disciples of Christ is not like the worlds love. It is not conditional. We are not to treat others the way we are treated, but rather Jesus says: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you… love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” We are to love as God loves. The world though does not understand godly love. The world defines love as inclusion, tolerance and acceptance. Consider what tolerance really is: capacity to endure pain or hardship - sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own - the allowable deviation from a standard - the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (such as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure - relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor. Does that really sound like love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes God’s love or godly love: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God’s love is not demonstrated in tolerance or acceptance of unrighteousness or what is unbecoming, but rather Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Despite what the world says, we cannot love them without the cross as the center piece of love. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us.
We should not expect though that the world will respond to true love by loving us in return. Our society and culture have come to a place where differences cause division and hatred. Those who desire tolerance are often the least tolerant of those who are not in agreement with them. In John 15:18-25 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” Again, Jesus says: “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.” If we would be hated by the world, may it be for the sake of Christ and for the cause of the cross.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for the demonstration of Your love. May I in turn love as You have loved me. May I be, patient, kind and not jealous; may I not brag and not be arrogant, not act unbecomingly; not seek my own. May I not be provoked, not take into account a wrong suffered, not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoice with the truth; may I bear all things, believes all things, hope all things, endure all things. May I be blessed for Your names sake and the cause of the cross.Amen.