… blessed are you … woe to you … (Luke 6:20-27).
Blessings and woes: the positives and negatives of the Christian life. Jesus listed these back-to-back to remind us that we need to keep both of them in mind, sort of like two rails that keep us on track.
It’s interesting to note how many of these blessings and woes are opposites of each other. It comes down to this—
there are blessings for seeking the Kingdom of God, AND there are woes for seeking our own immediate pleasure.
Notice the contrasts Jesus lists:
- You are blessed when you seek heavenly rewards; you experience woe when your focus is earthly treasure (vv. 20, 24).
- You are blessed when you are driven by a hunger for God; you experience woe when your god becomes your selfish appetites (vv. 21, 25).
- You are blessed when you acknowledge your sin, weep over it, and repent from it; you experience woe when sin is laughed at (vv. 21, 25).
- You are blessed when you are hated by the world for loving God; you experience woe when you are loved by the world for loving sinful pleasures (vv. 22, 26).
I think C.S. Lewis captured these thoughts well when he wrote in Mere Christianity, “Give yourself up and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. … Look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
Blessings for seeking Jesus and His kingdom; woes for seeking only your own kingdom.
So how do we live blessed? Here’s what Jesus taught us (vv. 27-49)—
Avoid the woes AND enjoy the blessings of God!