22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.Luke 6:22–24
We are spirits with bodies, not bodies with spirits. That means that the spiritual should be more real to us than the material. Yet, keeping our focus on the eternal rather than the temporal is a constant challenge.
When Jesus was on this earth His teachings astonished people just as much as His miracles. Yet I know I am guilty of too often going to the works of Jesus to demonstrate His divine power, rather than using His Words as examples.
In Mark 1:22 we read that Jesus “astonished” the people by His teachings, because He taught them with authority. One commentator explains that the Greek word for astonished literally means to be knocked out! Another explains it as meaning practically overwhelmed!
We see this in Luke 6:22-24. Here Jesus describes the mindset believers ought to have when faced with suffering for our faith. Jesus encourages us to rejoice when persecution comes our way. How opposed is this to the normal response to opposition?
To highlight the shift needed in our heart and mind He prescribes a woe to the rich. Why? Because they have comfort now, whereas the believer has an infinitely greater reward in eternity.
Jesus’ teachings always shifted people’s perspective from the temporal to the eternal. He elevated morals from being mere actions of the body to demonstrations of the morality in a person’s heart.
Manmade laws try to enforce temporary good behavior by controlling individuals, whereas true holiness comes from the lasting transformation of a person into the image of Jesus Christ.
The church in Ephesus had the same problem and so Paul constantly challenged them to lift their eyes to heavenly places.
Abraham exemplified faith by looking for a city not made with hands.
May God help us to live by faith, and not by sight.