Today’s readings… (2 Kings 20), (Ezekiel 10), (Luke 6)

Our reading of Luke Ch. 6 today is a briefer form of what we call ‘the sermon on the mount’ that’s  in Matt. Ch.’s 5,6 & 7. Luke, who travelled with Paul to Rome and was in Rome with him (2 Tim. 4 v.11), wrote his gospel primarily for Gentiles.  We saw in Luke 1 v.3 that it was addressed to Theophilus.
We wondered if some might be puzzled by v.23 in today’s chapter: we have heard it quoted to show we go to heaven when we die.  The verse reads, “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy; for behold, your reward is great in heaven …”  Truly there will be the greatest joy “in that day” – that day being when “the kingdom of God” is established, “for yours is the kingdom of God.” [v.20]   This is, to quote the well-known Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5), when the meek are blessed “for they shall inherit the earth.” [v.5] – to get the fullest sense we need to compare the 2 chapters realizing, when it says “kingdom of heaven”, it means a heavenly kingdom to come on earth.
However, what do the words in Luke mean – why “in that day” will they “leap for joy” if heaven is the place of their reward the moment they die – what happens “in that day”? In John 3 v.15 we read “no one has ascended to heaven” except Jesus.  Peter preached that even David, the great Psalmist, and Jesus was in a sense “his son” (see Matt. 22 v.42, &c), “died and was buried … for David did not ascend into the heavens” [Acts 2 v.29,34]
The particular verse that clears up this mystery is the message of Jesus in Rev. 22 v.12, “Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to reward everyone for what he (or she) has done. Jesus is bringing the reward to true believers when he returns to raise the dead and set up his kingdom.
He will reward those who have truly served him and done their human best, aided by his grace, to live the way of life he preached; then, as he told one man, “you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” [Mark 10 v.21]  If we have accepted that invitation, let us keep our feet firmly on the narrow path, that Jesus has trod before us!  If we have not yet done so, let us ask ourselves, ‘Why not?’  There is great joy in witnessing a person take on the name of Christ in baptism – may others be soon motivated to do the same.

 

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