For the last four days, we’ve seen Jesus make four “Blessed are you…” statements. For some people, this is what Jesus is all about: #blessed. Is that what He is all about? Does He live to make you #blessed?
After four “Blessed are you…” statements, Jesus is now about to make four “Woe to you…” statements. They obviously stand in stark contrast to the blessings He has just pronounced and speak to a very different group of people. In the ‘then and there’ Jesus was speaking to His disciples (6.12-17) who we know gave everything to follow Him. His attention now turns to those who refuse to follow Him. John A. Martin wrote this about those who refused to follow Him:
“They did not understand the gravity of the situation which confronted them. They refused to follow the One who could bring them into the kingdom, and therefore Jesus pronounced woes on them”.
Some people struggle with this idea that Jesus came not only to #bless but also to confront. They will affirm that He is God in the flesh, they will affirm that He has a strong dislike for sin and its effects on life, but they will struggle to affirm that Jesus came to do more than pronounce blessings for the ‘good people’. Remember though, if you’re one of those people, that the same Jesus that welcomed children to Him in a gentle and caring way (Matthew 18.2-5, Luke 18.16) is the same Jesus that made a whip and drove out money changers from the temple courts (John 2.14-17).
Yes, Jesus loves to bless those who love Him (John 10.14-15) but He also has strong words for those that reject His Word, His will, and His ways. We don’t say this to motivate people by fear but to show both sides of the coin. As we move into looking at four “Woe to you…” statements remember that they are directed at those who refuse to follow Jesus and not necessarily you. Also remember, however, that but for the grace of God we could all find ourselves there. So, as we look at these four woes don’t look down on them, but rather see them as what you have avoided by the grace of God.