Scripture Reading for Wednesay, March 12th
Reading: Luke 11:27-35
Blessed Like the Ninevites?
What does it mean to live a blessed life? Our first inclinations go towards the material and worldly things; wealth, social standing, lack of stress. As a whole our culture associates blessing with 'good things'. Some versions translate the root word used here as 'happiness' which, if we read it out of context, can be taken to mean that our existence is somewhat carefree.
But what does it mean that Jesus lived a blessed life and ended up tortured, and executed on a Roman cross around the age of 33? What does it mean that Mary was herself blessed by God and ended up seeing her son die on that cross? I would argue that there is a profound disconnect between how our culture defines blessing and happiness as compared to what is communicated in our scripture reading.
Blessing does not mean a carefree existence; rather it is a 'reconciled' existence. To be reconciled with our God is to be a blessed/happy person. Obedience is the key word that Jesus highlights here. Our obedience to God, and to the message brought to us in Jesus Christ, is essential to understanding what God's blessing means for our lives.
Throughout the New Testament we see multiple examples where blessing is the direct result of suffering. The distinguishing key here is that the suffering that brings blessing is the result of obedience to God, rather than disobedience. In 1 Peter 2, we are reminded that if we suffer because we have sinned that is not a blessing; rather it is a blessing to suffer when we have not sinned because it shows our obedience to God.
Suffering is unfortuneately part of the world we inhabit; the type of suffering and its outcome though depends on our obedience to what God has asked us to do; namely, repent. Jesus's suffering on the cross has been transformed by God into the greatest blessing this world has, and will ever, know. If we heed God's warnings and turn to him we may not escape the sufferings our fallen world; however we will experience the blessing that is God's everlasting salvation.
Questions for Reflection or Journaling
- How do blessing and obedience go hand in hand?
- What suffering has brought about blessing in your life?
Father we ask today that you would continue to reveal to us what is right and just. Show us the way of repentance and give us grace to choose what is right. Our lives are held in your hands for you to do with as you wish, use us for the fulfillment of your Kingdom.