I see a picture of the kind of man I want to be in Luke 6:17-26.
Would you please take a few moments to read this passage?
A man who is measured by God as head and shoulders above the crowd is attractive.
A large crowd gathered with Jesus on the mountainside in Luke 6:17-19 with two different types of people. One group was called “His disciples,” which means learners or students. The other group came from various backgrounds (probably Jews and Gentiles) and were familiar with Jesus but had not yet made a commitment to Him.
These people in Luke 6 were attracted to Jesus for various reasons. Some came to hear Him, while others came to be healed. Jesus was, and is, a figure that attracts attention. People are attracted to Him because of the love, wisdom and power that flows from Him. My desire is for these same qualities to flow from me, and I hope that you men desire them too. As you get to know Jesus Christ in a life-changing way, allow His love, wisdom and power to flow through you so that many people will enjoy being with you. The qualities that He cultivates in you will make you very attractive. Are you attractive now? What draws people to you or what repels them from you?
A man who is measured by God as head and shoulders above the crowd is bankrupt.
Whether or not Matthew and Luke summarize the same sermon, they both begin with beatitudes, or blessings, pronounced upon individuals with certain conditions, attitudes or behaviours. Matthew 5:3-12 lists nine of these, while Luke mentions only four in Luke 6:20-22. The word beatitude is derived from the Latin word that means blessed, not happy. We tend to think that happiness depends upon external conditions; however, Jesus is talking about an attitude that transcends circumstances.
Luke first mentions a blessing upon the poor. The parallel in Matthew is upon the “poor in spirit” and this seems to be the intent of Luke as well. When you realize that only God can supply your needs, this attitude prepares you to become a citizen of His kingdom.
Luke’s second beatitude parallels Matthew’s fourth. Realizing this can help us to understand that Jesus was not putting any great value on physical hunger. He commends those “who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
Luke’s third beatitude is for those who weep. In this context, Jesus clearly referred to the weeping that arises over spiritual matters. Jesus commends godly sorrow that leads to repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:10).
The last beatitude is a prediction that the disciples would begin to see fulfilled within a few months. Jesus’ followers would soon be expelled from the synagogue—imprisoned and beaten.
In God’s economy, you are on your way to great wealth when you do not invest in the world’s commodities. To have the Almighty fill your life with His virtues and rewards, you must first declare bankruptcy before Him.
Do you care more about your own comfort and what others think of you and less about how rich you are toward God and what He thinks of you? I urge you to give up this meaningless pursuit and come to Him, admitting your emptiness and inviting Him to fill you.
A man who is measured by God as head and shoulders above the crowd is confusing.
What do you see in this image? It depends upon your perspective.
After promising four blessings, Jesus turned to the other side of the coin to reveal four woes in Luke 6:24-26. The first of these is aimed at the rich. Jesus was not condemning wealth as such. Rather, He was condemning greed—the arrogance and self-sufficiency that a reliance upon riches often brings.
This warning should be heeded by affluent Canadians. In our privileged land even those who live below the so-called poverty line, fare much better than most of those to whom Jesus spoke. The Lord calls us not to feel guilty about our affluence, but to refuse to allow it to become our master.
Jesus’ next woe is pronounced against those “who are well fed.” Their sin is not in having wealth, but in using it selfishly and wastefully.
Jesus described the third woe against those “who laugh now.” He was not condemning all laughter. Here He condemns the boastful, haughty laughter of those who are self-satisfied and show no concern for others who are hungry or suffering.
The final woe was reserved for those who win all the popularity contests. One can gain universal popularity only by resorting to deception and flattery. Just as one can be known by the friends he keeps, so he may also be known by his enemies.
A real man is confusing to those who are not heavenly-minded. A real man is confusing to most people, but makes perfect sense to the One who created him and died for him. To whom do you make sense?
You might have concluded by now that Jesus’ words in Luke 6:17-26 do not apply to men only. Women, boys and girls would also do well to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in cultivating these qualities in your lives.
Most of what our culture depicts as an ideal man contradicts heaven’s model.