Luke 6:12-16 (NIV) 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.
On verses 12-16: Notice that Jesus spent quality time in prayer before he chose his disciples and called them his authorized representatives (“apostles”). What can we learn from this? Before you ask someone to be in a significant relationship with you (whether it’s business-wise, romantically or otherwise), make sure you pray about it and seek God’s guidance. Like Jesus, pray through your most important people decisions.
Luke 6:17-19 (NIV) 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.
On verses 17-19: Notice here that Jesus didn’t ask the people to come up to him. Jesus went down and met them where they were – both Jews and Gentiles alike.
Whereas religion would tell us, “Work hard and climb up and maybe you’ll reach God”, Jesus says, “I know you’ll never reach me no matter how hard you climb up, so I’ll come down to where you are.” Christianity is not about our pride-fueled effort to reach up for God, but about God’s powerful yet humble love reaching down for us.
Luke 6:20-26 (NIV) 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.
On verses 20-26: To paraphrase Jesus here, when life is going well for you — whether financially (“you who are rich”), materially (“you who are well fed”), emotionally (“you who laugh now”), or how you look in people’s eyes (“when all men speak well of you”) — watch out that you don’t get self-satisfied and prideful, lest you steer off course like a false prophet (v24-26). When life is hard — whether financially (“you who are poor”), materially (“you who hunger”), emotionally (“you who weep”), or how you look in people’s eyes – consider yourself blessed (“rejoice in that day and leap for joy”), because God will use that time to strengthen you and there are riches waiting for you in heaven if you respond to that situation in a God-glorifying way.
Heavenly Father, like Your Son Jesus, may I be a person who prays through my decisions, who values Your humble servant’s heart, and who responds in a God-glorifying way to whatever circumstance I’m facing, whether it’s a pleasant circumstance or a tough circumstance. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!