“WITH,” and important word.

“And he came down WITH (meta) them and stood on a level place, WITH (meta) a great (mega) crowd of his disciples and a great (mega) multitude of people.”  That’s how our gospel lesson (Luke 5:17-26) for this week begins.  Jesus had been in the hills praying together with a large group of his disciples.  While up there he selected twelve of those disciples and called them apostles (sent ones).  Included was Judas, of whom Luke adds, “the man who would betray him.”  So, we already know how that will turn out.

From that level place, not from a mountain, but a place on the same level as the people he began to teach his disciples. “His disciples.”  If you are a follower of Jesus, then pay attention.

“Blessed are you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is yours.”  Not “poor in spirit,” but just plain poor.   Jesus doesn’t promise wealth, which he says later, is not necessarily a blessing in the long run (v.24), but a cause for woe.

Jesus echoes Mary’s when she sang while pregnant with our Lord. “God, my Savior…has scattered those who think so proudly in their hearts…and lifted up lowly people.  He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty handed.”

By implication, then, Jesus means for us to stand WITH those who are poor and hungry.  I’ve found that whenever we discuss poverty and hungry, we soon shift to thinking of those who don’t deserve our help.  Nowhere in scripture, do I find that God adds qualifications, even as he does not place qualifications on us to receive grace upon grace.

As Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

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