Luke 6v12-26


Jesus was an amazing teacher - his sermons were clearly amazing. Not at all boring. Huge crowds flocked to them they stayed so long hanging on his every word they didn’t even notice they’d missed their lunch and dinner! We saw a few weeks ago Jesus on a beach by Lake Galilee teaching and the crowds were so great he got into a boat pushed out onto the water forming this great amphitheatre from which he could speak to the crowds. And here in Luke’s gospel chapters 6-7 we come to Jesus’ greatest teaching - what has come to be known as the sermon on the mount. In Matthew’s gospel - it’s longer and slightly different. Luke includes less of the sermon and draws out certain different aspects of Jesus’ message. And this stuff is so life changing. What we get here is Jesus’ manifesto for his kingdom. His rule. It’s like he’s forming a whole new party or nation or people around him. Which is exactly what he’s doing actually.. Remember that Israel - the people of God in the OT - were made up of 12 Tribes - the sons of Jacob? Well look at what Jesus is doing here v13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostlesAnd remember when God rescued the 12 tribes of the Hebrews out of Egypt and made them a new people - Israel -  he took them up a mountain and gave them laws for living - blessings and woes? Well here is Jesus and he’s in the mountains and he now gives laws for living which will constitute a NEW people of God - the followers of Jesus Christ.. 

The mountains are also the place of revolution. If you’re a revolutionary you are a threat to the powers that be and so you have to hide out and the place to hide out is in the mountains. And Jesus’ kingdom is indeed a revolutionary kingdom. A kingdom of peace and of justice. I have come to proclaim, said Jesus in Luke chapter 4, Good news to the Poor


2 things we’re going to see in Jesus’ manifesto for his Kingdom 

1 AGreat Reversal 

2 A Present Joy 


A great reversal


20 Looking at his disciples, Jesus 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.


24 “But woe to you who are rich,

    for you have already received your comfort.

25 Woe to you who are well fed now,

    for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,

    for you will mourn and weep.

26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,

    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.


In Matthew’s account of the sermon on the mount he records Jesus beginning with the words. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger for righteousness - you will be filled. 

spiritual poverty - recognising we can do nothing, salvation must be received as a gift through the death of christ - is the absolutely necessary requirement for entering the kingdom of God. Becoming a disciple of Jesus. 

Luke, we’ve seen in his gospel so far ,totally agrees with that. Salvation is not for the spiritually strong and sorted (as if there were such people!) - it’s for bankrupt, hungry, weeping sinners. Luke agrees..

But notice Luke doesn’t record Jesus saying blessed are you who are poor in spirit; who hunger for righteousness. He records Jesus saying

Blessed are you who are poor. 

and woe to you who are rich 

Blessed are you who hunger 

and woe to you who are well fed 

Blessed are you who weep now 

and woe to you who laugh now 


Jesus’ kingdom is entered by grace alone. Crying out to Jesus. But it is also - Luke wants to tell us -  a physical kingdom overturning this present reality. A kingdom of justice and peace where the first now will be last and the last now will be first. It’s a revolution. A great reversal. 


Remember Jesus speaks these words to an oppressed people living under foreign unjust and cruel overlords - the Romans. And Jesus says one day my Kingdom will come and perfect justice will be established and the hungry will be lifted up and the rich oppressor will be sent away empty. 


I don’t know if you watch much weekend TV - some of it is fun. What is striking is our culture’s obessession with wealth, comfort, success and prestige. We’re probably not alone all human societies throughout history have valued these things. But our culture seems to idolise these things almost exclusively. The value of family or community or a job well done has been completly subsumed by the prizing of wealth and comfort and success and CELEBRITY. We envy the super rich and gorge on reality TV programmes about their lives and we idolise individuals for their fame even and often especially when it’s been dubiously achieved! Because we want to be them. We prize this. And poverty we hide and hunger we fear, and on our mourning and depression we paint a brave face.. don’t admit to it. and whoever bears these unwanted qualities we exclude, we reject, we hate. 


But Jesus says his Kingdom is the precise opposite. It is a great reversal. It is a completeoverturning of values. Blessed/Favoured/Happy are the Poor, the hungry, the mourning, the excluded. 


World Cup - Brazil - old street sweeper was caught on camera dancing samba immediately became this national treasure. 

Or did you ever see - Muhammed Nazir works on a fish stall Upton Park market was videoed singing his one pound fish song: 

Come on ladies, come on ladies

One pound fish

Have-a, have-a look

One pound fish

Very, very good, very, very cheap

One pound fish

immediatley elevated to celebrity. Nazir was immediatley on XFactor and given a recording contract 


In the Upside down Kingdom of Jesus. The paparazzi do follow the poor, the lowly, the servants.. They are our role models. They are who we want to be like. the humble are lifted up. the elderly are listened to. The oppressed are set free. There is a complete reversal of values. 


Our political processes seem utterly powerless to overturn the injustices and inequalities that we see in our world and in our nation and in our city. Of course it is complex: not all ‘rich’ people are exploitative and oppressive and not all ‘poor’ people are oppressed and deserving. The deep reason perhaps why we cannot change to a fairer kinde society is because whether we are rich or poor we are bound to the values of wealth, comfort, success and prestige. 


But one day Jesus will establish his kingdom of justice and peace and the humble poor will be lifted up and the self satisifed rich will be judged and sent away empty. 

The Bible assures that Jesus himself will return to raise the dead and bring perfect judgements and establish his new Kingdom on earth.. 


And we say - that’s so difficult to imagine. It’s so difficult to believe. This world just goes on and on - nothing really changes. You’re telling me one day the clocks will stop, time will be called. And Jesus will come - put all things right. Establish eternal peace and contentment. It does my head in to try and believe that. 


Well I know it’s hard and head stretching to imagine and raises all kinds of questions. And i believe that Jesus says - i know it’s hard so look - if you want to know that it’s true that i will one day right all wrongs and the future will be one of justice and peace - and you’ll be healed and you’ll be with me.. If you want to know enough that it’s true you don’t have to look into the future and imagine this cataclysmic event. Just look at me, says Jesus.. 

Look at me in v18 

coming down the mountainside onto the plain and the crowds are coming to hear Jesus 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.


Look at him. Look at the great reversal that happens in and through him

 The God of the universe stoops low. 

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,

All for love’s sake becamest poor;

Thrones for a manger didst surrender,

Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,

All for love’s sake becamest poor.


Thou who art God beyond all praising,

All for love’s sake becamest man;

Stooping so low, but sinners raising

Heavenward by thine eternal plan.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,

All for love’s sake becamest man.


Look at the Jesus who came, God of God - born in a manger, a child refugee, a working class carpenter, a homeless preacher, servant, who stooped to the cross and a borrowed tomb to then heal us and give us life by his mighty power. Look at the Jesus who came and it will be enough to know that the writing is on the wall for the old kingdom of wealth and greed and selfishness and selfcentredness.. The great reversal will come. He can do it. 


And sothe gospel is good news to the poor. 

the spiritual poor who know they need God 

the physical poor who long for justice and healing and peace 


and if God is a friend to the poor and the downtrodden and the mourning and the excluded… then God’s people will be too. The church will align herself with the poor. These are the values we will be aligning ourselves with - rejecting the idols of wealth and comfort and success and prestige. And these are the people we will be aligning oursleves withotherwise when the great reversal comes we will find ourslves on the wrong side of history. 


A great reversal 


A Present joy  


The values of our present Kingdom can seem so right. It is the right side up Kingdom. Just the way things are. 

Blessed are the rich, the comfortable, the successful (those who laugh not in regular sense but in sense of gloating when you win an election or something) the prestigious.. 


That is blessing isn’t it. New Hackney bookshop. Self Help section. Ekhart Tolle The power of Now - The now is most REAL the past is gone, the future is uncertain. Live in the Now. If the Now is really all there is then these values seem absolutely natural. Seek comfort. 


They are biologically natural. Heard of evolution? have you heard of the survival of the weak, the depressed, the excluded? forget it. resist those things 

These values are psychologically natural “The spirit that so permeates Christianity is in my opinion masochism. the strongest expression of masochism is to be found in Christ’s teaching in the sermon on the mount’ 


biologically, psychologically. iftheres no eternity - if the Now is the only real - this is the right way to live. 

But actually even in the short term, shortly after the Now -  this is actually a life full of woes. 

The comfort that possessions give quickly stagnates and you need more 

After a good meal you’re soon hungry again 

The pursuit of success and prestige leads to an endless cycle of woe


Woe to you who are rich, 

Woe to you who are successful, 

Woe to you when everybody loves you



and just as actually the right side up kingdom is a life woe in the now 

so Jesus’ upside down kingom is the place of Blessing and joy NOW not just in the future when the great reversal comes. 

“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.


In Jesus’ kingdom - which is a Kingdom of present poverty - spiritual and physical 

of hunger - spiritual and physical, of real mourning - spiritual and physical, of hatred and rejection sometimes. In these present states and only in them - there is real joy to be found. Why how? 


Because we are his disciples - Jesus was poor, Jesus was hungry, Jesus wept, Jesus was hated 

And when those things touch our lives - brutal as they are - we are also touched by the presence of Jesus. There is joy even to be found in those things because we are HIS disciples and that is enough. 

But Joy can also be found in these things because we are his disciples - we are the church, we are the body of Christ. we are the community of Jesus released from the woes of wealth and success and prestige we draw people in and we care for one another and in one another we find joy. 



Thou who art love beyond all telling,

Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Emmanuel, within us dwelling,

Make us what thou wouldst have us be.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,

Saviour and King, we worship thee.