24 The way to imitate Him

Luke 6:17-26
Deuteronomy 30:1-6

T As one of the disciples

 After Jesus chose 12 apostles, He made a start of new development; there is it, "He descended with them, and stood on a level place;" (6:17). "There was a great multitude of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon" (17), it seems this time was at the time of climax of His work in the Galilee district. "The new development", it means that Jesus began to pour power into training of disciples, led apostles of just the birth; while He is staring at the separation from them which approached closely. It seems that Jesus is going to do the training of them among the people, after He "goes down the mountain". "Who had come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. And all the multitude were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all." (18-19) It seems that it was a thing summarizing a work of this new development at the same time as this is the situation of this time. During in this Verse 20 to 9:17, Jesus healed a lot of people, and used mysterious power and taught them, and, He sent them to towns and villages, also. After this, Jesus left the Galilee district, and began to step forward to Jerusalem. It seems that Jesus valued it very much, as valuable time running out to spend a period of with apostles.

 One of that training, "Teaching" begins from Verse 20. There are persons who assume that this story is the same as "Sermon on the Mount" of 5-7 of Matthew, but many people are thinking that it was talked at the different time. And because there is it as "a level place", they call it "The sermon of plains". "And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say," (20) Of course, the crowd who gathered there heard it, but we may hear this is a message to the disciples who consist of 12 apostles who were appointed just now. Even if it is the same message, if we hear it as a disciple of Jesus, will we not hear it in a different way from hearing it in crowds? We want to hear it as one of the disciples, don't you?


U Before the blessing and the woe

 I want to take up the beginning part of this sermon (6:20 -26) this morning. Four message, "Blessed are you", and four messages, "Woe to you," are told here. It is clearly different from Sermon on the Mount of Matthew which 7 or 8 "happiness" was told to at this point, but perhaps, Jesus would have taught basic posture against God at here, I think. As Moses had commanded to Israel ever; "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known." (Deuteronomy 11:26 -29). It was that the half of Israel climbed the Mt. Gerizim and read the verse of the blessing of the law aloud, and the half of the remainder climbed the Mt. Ebal and read a curse verse aloud. Successor Jehosua of Moses protected it faithfully (Jehosua 8:30 -35), and afterward, Israel had to hear the blessing and the curse from God all the time. Mt. Gerizim and the Mt. Ebal, these were in the central part of mountains in Cannan, Shechem / early haikal of Israel, was built at there before long; and these two mountains faced each other. This is superfluity, but will the person feel resistance when we hand down "an evil"? As the times dated back, such custom to read "an evil" on Mt. Ebal has been lost gradually. However, as for the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew which is missing a curse part, it may be said that it is not the result of the times, but, Jesus Himself had undertaken such a curse part by His own cross. However, as for "the sermon of plains", it is told having left old form, both "happiness" and "curse". Jesus learned the Israeli origin which has been completely forgotten, and trained the eyes of disciples to be able to know the situation of such then Judea society which is living in the part of "the curse", I think so. If we do not stare at such gloomy part, we may not understand the reason of Gospel of Jesus which is rising a blessing, "Blessed are you".


V The way to imitate Him

 By the way, a message of Jesus begins. Four blessings and four woes compare completely opposite way of life. Now, shall we read them while putting it each together? The first is it; "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God".(20), "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full."(24). The second is it; "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied."(21), "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry."(25). The third is it; "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh."(21), "Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep."(25). The fourth is it; "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."(23), "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets."(26).

 It is the first comparison. As for this "who are poor", it means being poor literally, and it will apply to disciples; but it is different from the expression speaking of Matthew, "poor in spirit". I feel consideration for disciples that they will be freed from the consciousness which was in then Jewry that "the rich person" are getting the special blessing of God, there. From here, I hear a message not to be able to continue step as a disciple of Jesus if I do not throw away consciousness to want to become rich. Is not there the society situation of then in here? The rich person squeezes to the utmost from poor people and is rich; it is exploitation prohibited by Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 15). However, for us living in modern society, a rich person is bad, and a poor person is good; it must not be judged uniformly. We want to learn that we can hear the blessing when we walk with God according to words of God even if poor; He said "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is kingdom of God". However, it is said, "Woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.". This will say people "living in the human being society" against the people who "live in the God's country". The received world becomes different according to what we do stare at. This depends on our choice. Who are poor and who are rich; both were said, "you who are"; yes, the disciples had the possibility of becoming it the any. And perhaps, about the second and the third, both will be same as the first, and it would be repeated emphasized both.

 Please pay attention to the fourth, it is said that such a thing happens that they will be hated by people because they are disciples of Jesus, and be struck off a list and be humiliated. Actually, apostles and the seniors of each times encountered such eyes, and there were many people who became martyrs. Surely, "poor" and "starve" and "crying"; they will be step to the same way. What was recited here was to have happened on Jesus own. And the apostles kept on choose the way to imitate Him. It is asked, "How about you?" at this present age of end. Don't we want to walk with the same course to imitate Him?