Jesus was making his way around the countryside, teaching and healing and spending time with those who realized their needs. You see, Jesus came for sinners, and He came for the poor and needy. The self-righteous who put on faces and fronts need not apply…
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
After a time, he stopped to teach – the crowd of people assembled to hear him. They were sick, troubled, and eager to touch him or be touched by him.
Then he blessed them, recognizing their situation and knowing what is in store for them in the kingdom of God…
The poor are blessed because the kingdom of God belongs to them. It is not for the rich because many times the rich do not see their need for God and they are distracted and comforted by their wealth. Those who hunger now will be satisfied. In heaven they will have an abundance. Their tears will turn to laughter.
And those who suffer the hatred, exclusion, insult, and rejection of the world because they follow Jesus will also be blessed in heaven. The followers of Jesus were placed beside the poor, hungry, and weeping. In those days, it was easy to understand because these were the same groups. It was the poor who were following Jesus.
So what now? Now that people of all nations, tribes, and tongues – people of all economic and social stature – follow Jesus, how do we reconcile ourselves to Jesus’ words that day? It comes through our attitude, which is to reflect the mind of Christ described in Philippians 2. If we are humble in spirit and view ourselves based on our needs instead of based on our status, we will have more in common with Jesus’ original followers than we might first think.
The future is bright for the last on earth. They will be first in heaven.