Jeremiah 17:5-10, I Corinthians 15:12-20 and Luke 6:17-26
Jesus’ audience receiving a message which included woes and blessings, was, first, his disciples and then, “a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon…” Blessings and woes were announced to a wide range of people….not just his “early church” the disciples.
I cannot but think of the “great multitudes” of the USA on this Sunday before Presidents Day. If anyone commands attention and has a huge audience today it is whoever is in the highest office in the land. And almost to a person our Presidents have been of some Christian Faith themselves. Presidents are not “preacher in chief” but are influenced by the Word of God, a nation of churches and preachers.
What might any President in our history have heard when Jesus speaks of the “rich, the poor, those who mourn, and those who are praised by all.” Presidents have all had to deal with these categories of our population in leadership, by example and by policies. Is there an overlap between “church and society” when it comes to policies on the rich, the poor, those who mourn, those who get praised by all?!
Jesus sounds much like the prophets, in this case, like Jeremiah who generations before found reasons to pronounce both blessings and curses. God’s word is for both individuals and for nations, people in lands such as Judah with its kings and intrigues with surrounding nations. Jeremiah in 17:1 speaks to Judah, the people collectively!
This Sunday as we anticipate honoring our Presidential branch of government we might ask ourselves how we as a nation hear the Word of God with blessings and woes pronounced upon individuals and the nation? Certainly a very big question! The answers will take time to sink in and affect us as followers of Christ.
Let us worship the Lord who questions us and our attitudes toward others, but is ever intent on leading us toward blessings!