The Sermon on the Mount, found in Mark 5-7, is generally referred to as the greatest sermon ever preached. Jesus begins His sermon by stating the eight beatitudes, and the passage in Luke 6:20-26 contains a subset of these beatitudes combined with a corresponding set of woes.
There are two genres used in this passage. Each of the first four statements begins with “blessed are.” These statements are called beatitudes and are used commonly throughout scripture in both the New and Old Testaments. Each of the last four statements begins with “woe to you who.” The woe literary form functions “as an expression of pity for those who stand under divine judgment.” (Talbert 70) Each woe in Luke 6:24-26 is the reverse of a beatitude found in Luke 6:20-23. (E.g. Verse 20 and verse 24 are corresponding statements). Each woe pities the opposite group of people that its corresponding beatitude blesses. This pairing of blessings and woes is also found in Ecclesiastes 10:16-17.
There are several differences among the New International Version (2011 release), New Living Translation, and New American Standard Bible translations. At the beginning of verse 20, Jesus is looking at his disciples in the NIV, He turned to His disciples in the NLT, and He turned His gaze toward His disciples in the NASB. These phrases mean essentially the same thing: Jesus was fa...
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...ke 6:23, 26 also mentions how the prophets were treating by the audience’s ancestors. In the Old Testament, the Prophets of God were ignored and persecuted while the false prophets for other gods and idols were supported by the people. This set of verses presents a reversal of outcomes based on the person’s social acceptance or rejection. Those who are rejected because of Jesus will receive an unspecified reward in Heaven. The audience is instructed to rejoice in this fact. Jesus is encouraging His followers to be happy when people persecute their faith because their reward in Heaven is worth any pain this world can cause.
All things considered, Luke 6:20-26 is not really as counter-cultural as it seems. When you look at the spiritual meaning of the words rather than the more commonly used economic definitions, you see that these words of Jesus are very insightful.
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