by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 15:29
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Text: Luke 6:17-26
I grew up in a church where the Sunday services had a strict liturgical order. Some ministers still use this order: Every service starts with a short prayer declaring the congregation’s trusts in God. This is immediately followed by the minister blessing the congregation. The words of 1 Tim 1:2 may be used, for example: “Grace, mercy, and peace, (to you) from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Nowadays, when I worship with a congregation and the service starts without a blessing, it is as if I miss something. I am not criticising ways in which congregations worship. I am only saying that it is so wonderful to experience God’s first dealings with people as one of undeserved blessings.
The picture that Luke describes in verses 17-23 reminds me of this. It also reminds me of the invitation of Jesus in Mat 11:28: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Luke says that people with all kinds of illnesses and troubles came to this Man who had the power to heal and words that comforted.
Our reading forms the introduction to Luke 6:20-49 that is known as the “sermon on the plain”. (It corresponds with the “sermon on the mount” of Matthews 5-7.) Luke tells us that Jesus first healed and blessed the people, and then taught them.
It is so easy to fall into the habit of first making sure that someone “deserves” what I may be able to give him or her – before I open my heart. This “habit” often comes to the fore in the context of the AIDS pandemic when people first want to know whether someone who is living with HIV has contracted the virus “innocently” or not, before they interact with the person.
Jesus healed the people who came to Him and comforted them. He helped people in their need. He welcomed them in love. Even his teaching was introduced by first blessing them.
Luke tells us in verses 22 – 24 that Jesus also reprimanded those who thought they didn’t need anything from Him. There are situations where warnings and reproof are necessary. This we also need to do with the love of Christ when we “speak the truth in love” (compare Ephesians 4:15).
To think about (or discuss): Do people experience me (us as Christians) in my (our) contact and dealings with them as kind or judgmental?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)