And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
I’ve known that the first half of these verses were called “The Beatitudes”, but never really knew the definition of the word “beatitude”. So I looked it up.
The secular definition of this word according to Merriam-Webster is:
A state of utmost bliss.
Sounds like a pretty good frame of mind. Related words are, peace, ecstasy, felicity, bliss, serenity, happiness.
A more religious based definition of “beatitude” is:
Any of the declarations of blessedness pronounced by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
So the first half of verses 20 through 26 are about bliss, peace and happiness. The second half which is verses 24 through 26 is known as “Jesus Pronounces Woes”.
So here is the definition of “woe”, also from Merriam-Webster:
(As an interjection) – used to express grief, regret or distress
(As a noun) – a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction or grief; ruinous trouble
Related words are, agony, anguish, distress and so on. You get the picture.
So verses 24 through 26 are about grief, distress, suffering and misfortune.
These 7 verses (20 through 26) go from bliss to agony.
And that is what I wanted to write about. Clearly these verses are about the balance of the universe, and Jesus is telling us, it is all balanced in the end. There is the balance between the first half bliss and the second half agony.
And there is balance within the verses:
Verse 20 – the poor will inherit the kingdom
Verse 21 – the hungry will be satisfied and the weeping shall laugh
Verse 22-23 – reviled on earth and rejoiced in heaven
Verse 24 – the rich will receive nothing
Verse 25 – the full will be hungry, and the laughing will be weeping
Verse 26 – rejoiced on earth and reviled in heaven
Christ is telling us that it all balances out. As high as you may go, that’s how far you will fall.
That’s what I wanted to say about the Beatitudes and the Woes. It’s Christ explaining to us the balance of the universe.
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