Read: Luke 6:20-26

On a number of occasions I have preached sermons, stating that the high point in the Christian year is Easter. Nothing has changed. I still believe the resurrection of Jesus has changed everything—and I mean EVERYTHING! But here we are on the other side of Easter and we have to live in life’s routines. We have to get up everyday and go to work. We have to buy groceries and fix meals. We have to raise our children. And we have to do all of these things and more in the context of……spiritual hostility! Yes, if we are sincere about our faith, people will be hostile toward us and WHO it is that we are following. Keep on reading and you’ll see why I can make this statement.

Start with Luke 24 and work backwards in the gospel narrative. When you do, you will discover that the resurrection appearances of Jesus not only declare that He is alive, but they validate everything He said about Himself. The resurrection substantiates that Jesus is God and that He is the promised Messiah. As Christ-followers God has called us out of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14)! That means that Jesus is the King and we are His subjects. So how do kingdom citizens live?

There are many answers to that question, but I pointed out in the last post that the “Sermon on the Plain” (Luke 6:20-49) gives us several concise answers. The first one is found in Luke 6:20-26. After coming down from a mountain, and after appointing the twelve, Jesus did what He often did—He taught! When you read this passage you will want to make two observations. First, notice that Jesus calls His kingdom followers to hard things. In verses 20 through 23 He is essentially saying, “You will receive the blessing of God on your life when you are poor, hungry, persecuted and slandered because of your identification with me. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t get me excited. I don’t want to be a Jesus-follower who has to face hardship in this life. I don’t want to go without food because I’ve been thrown into prison for being a Christian. I don’t want to be mistreated and hated by people because of my faith. This invitation by the King doesn’t sound very inviting to me. What about you?

That’s why you must make a second observation. Notice what Jesus says in verses 24-26. It’s a warning. It’s a warning to people who are rich, well fed, and highly exalted in this life. The people addressed in this section are probably those who have heard the claims of Jesus but reject Him. And Jesus says to such people, “If you reject the reality that I am the promised Messiah, there is coming a day when you will pay. You might have comfort in this life, but it won’t always be that way.” 

Do you see what Jesus is saying to prospective Christ-followers? He is introducing a kind of TURNAROUND! Yes, He is honest about the fact that at this point in His kingdom program we might have to suffer, but that is not the end of the story. Citizens of the Kingdom must think about life from a whole new frame of reference. According to Jesus, WE MUST PERSEVERE IN HARDSHIP, KNOWING THAT JESUS IS BRINGING ABOUT A GREAT REVERSAL.

Have you thought about the reversal that is certain to occur? You must, if you are a Christ-follower, a citizen of His Kingdom. When the reversal finally arrives, poverty, hunger, injustice, pain and sadness will be eliminated. And those who are faithful to Jesus in the here-and-now will be rewarded. That’s why the King says, “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy. Take note—your reward is great in heaven…(Luke 6:23)!” That means that we must always be readjusting our thinking to focus on the final establishment of the Kingdom. We must feed our souls on the King’s promises. And above all, we must obey Him NOW, even when life might be difficult. After all, He is the KING…and we are His subjects.

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