Today’s reading comes in two parts. Firstly, we hear of a crowd. They have come to Jesus to hear him, but also experience Christ’s power by being healed of diseases and unclean spirits. The diseased and those suffering with unclean spirits lived to varying degrees, lives of isolation, away from the rest of society to avoid the risk of others being infected. We can no doubt relate to that sort of life in a much clearer way now than we would have a couple of years ago.
Jesus, being the Son of God and life of love he is, listens to them, shares with them and brings them healing and wholeness – and the opportunity to live as part of the community again.
In the second part of the reading, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, though it is possible from Luke’s ambiguity that the crowd was still around them. To the disicples Jesus shares the Lukan version of The Beatitudes we discover in Matthew’s gospel (Matt ch5).
There right after a crowd of the excluded and isolated in the towns and villages have been around them, Jesus declares what would probably have seemed to be back to front and upside-down. The poor, the hungry, the weeping, the hated, the excluded and the cast out because of the Son of Man – are all blessed.
But, Jesus goes on; the rich, the satisfied, the laughing – their satisfaction will not hold. They will hunger and be in need again.
The ‘Jesus Manifesto’ – as this code has sometimes been titled – turns worldly expectations, exclusions, and divisions upside down and says don’t look to the world for satisfaction – look to me. May we all seek to touch, not the temptations of the world which will not satisfy, but the generous and unconditional love and grace of Christ.
Follow up: Look to Jesus this week – and in worship and prayer seek to be satisfied through the blessing and love of Jesus.
Today’s thought for the day is also available in Worshipping Together, a monthly worship at home resource.