BE SURE TO GET YOUR “BLESSEDS” RIGHT
Luke 10:23-24; 11:27-28; 14:15-24
1. Luke describes three occasions when Jesus corrected people’s “blesseds.”
a. Once he brought it up because they were getting too impressed with lesser things and not impressed enough with the greatest things.
b. Twice the people around him pronounced the blessing and he redirected it.
c. It was a teaching method the Lord found useful, partly because it is memorable.
2. What it tells us that we have to get our “blesseds” right in order to have values that will guide us properly, keep our hearts healthy and our conduct upright, and enable us to finally arrive at home.
1. “Blessed” – the way of speaking.
a. We don’t speak this way much in ordinary life, but “blessed” was a familiar affirmation in the secular world at that time.
i. Blessedness was something associated with the existence of the gods.
ii. Everyone assumed the gods were immune from the troubles and sorrows of everyday existence, so that’s what it meant to be blessed.
iii. People were therefore saluted for their external conditions: if they had a beautiful home, or fine children, or knowledge or wealth or fame.
b. But there are a number of beatitudes in the Old Testament, and they are a lot different from that.
i. They congratulate people for their godly lives; people are said to be blessed because they have divine approval.
ii. Some examples of those said to be blessed are:
(1) Those whose God is the LORD (Psalm 144:15).
(2) The ones who fear God (Psalm 112:1; 128:1).
(3) Those who trust in Him (Psalm 84:12).
(4) All who take refuge in Him (Psalm 2:12).
(5) Everyone who delights in obeying Him (Psalm 119:1-2; Proverbs 8:32-34; Isaiah 56:1-2).
iii. You can see that these are ways of saying that practical wisdom is the way to happiness: if you want lasting joy, obey God; seek his approval.
c. In the meantime, though, the people’s political situation in the world had taken a huge turn for the worse, and their beatitudes began to reflect it.
i. Pagan enemies held sway, and it looked like the faithful were on the verge of extinction.
ii. So, the things written during the time between the testaments shifted the focus from how to be happy in this life (which seemed impossible) to how to be happy in the life to come.
iii. They had come to think of the blessed as those who will have a share in the next age.
d. That is why Jesus’ use of this manner of speaking is so important: his pronouncements of blessedness are like loud announcements that expected new age of salvation has begun.
i. If people are looking to be blessed in the days of the Messiah, he is here.
ii. It is not a past generation or a future one which is fortunate; it is the one which has the opportunity to hear him and to be ruled by him.
iii. His work means that God has acted to make people happy, fortunate, blessed.
2. “Blessed” – seeing things his way.
a. Luke 10:23-24
i. This happened at one of the high points in our Lord’s ministry.
ii. Those to whom he gave authority over all the power of the enemy have come with enthusiastic reports of what they have been doing in his name.
iii. This causes Jesus to rejoice in the Holy Spirit and to thank the Father who is Lord of heaven and earth for what is occurring.
iv. But then he made this statement. Why?
(1) One possibility is that he knew they were not recognizing the significance of what was happening: inroads were being made into the territory of the enemy that were hints of what he himself was about to complete.
(2) Another possibility is that he understood the human tendency to take for granted that with which we have grown familiar, and that he did want his friends to fall victim to this habit by overlooking the tremendous value of the blessing they were experiencing.
v. Those who stood there with Jesus were being privileged to see the fulfillment of promises many great people of faith had greeted from afar, but had died without receiving (Heb. 11:13). Prophets and angels had desired to look into these things (1 Pet. 1:11-12). Those who have the profound privilege of seeing such things are the truly blessed!
b. Luke 11:27-28
i. Again, impressive things are happening: demons were being cast out; some were seeking signs; people were marveling.
ii. A woman in the crowd raised her voice and pronounce a “blessed.”
(1) Maybe she meant that his mother was to be congratulated, that she was truly fortunate to have raised a son like him. A lot of people ever since have been fascinated by Mary.
(2) Or she may have been saying something like, “O that I were so fortunate as to have such a son!” Maybe she thought she had been left out.
iii. But notice that the Lord redirected her attention: the real blessedness rests upon those who hear the word of God and keep it!
iv. Luke 8:21 is an application of his point about the spiritual relationship that is open to everybody.
v. James 1:25 expands on his teaching about the real “blessed.”
c. Luke 14:15
i. There is no debate about what this person says. What he means, however, is another question.
ii. He seems to have made the statement to relieve an awkward moment that occurred during the conversation at the table.
iii. He was saying something that everyone could agree on and look forward to.
iv. Luke 14:16-24
v. The point is that the only ones who will eat bread in the kingdom of God are those who want to be there more than they want to be anywhere else. A lot of seemingly upstanding people are going to miss out on blessedness for this very reason.
1. “Opportunity knocks, but doesn’t always answer to its name.”
2. Blessedness is like that, too. We have to be sure we’re looking for it in the places where the Lord says it is.
3. Every invitation is a call to make sure you get your “blesseds” right.