Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
September 30, 2007
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
- I. Luke's Use of "Lifting Up One's Eyes".
- A. 6:20 -- This is the first occasion of Luke's use of the phrase. It introduces a very lengthy section of Jesus' teachings and its focus is upon His disciples.
- B. 16:23 -- The rich man in Hell "lifted up his eyes, being in torment". The implication is that he was looking for some kind of relief, or escape.
- C. 18:13 -- The publican in the temple would not so much as "lift up his eyes", but smote upon his breast: he was not even "worthy" in his own view of himself to "look for" relief.
- D. Interestingly, the "rich" do not keep from looking around to see if there is someone to "lean on" to get what they want, but those who know they have no special privilege do not "so much as" lift up their eyes.
- E. The basic issue of the phrase is that the one doing the action is "seeking" something.
- 1. Theologically, the "eyes" (as in, "the lust of the eyes") have to do with the "soul" in its "passivity" as a "seeker" of someone/something that will bring it to joy.
- 2. In this text, Jesus has been commissioned by the Father to produce the Kingdom. He has spent an entire night in prayer with His "Commissioner". He has chosen the "apostles" (those He intends to be His representatives in "Kingdom-building" after He has physically departed from this world). He has accumulated a host of "disciples" who have moved into the circle of His Truth by means of their views of His works and words to this point. He is on the verge of laying out the facts regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God and what it takes to be an heir of it. But, whether or not His Kingdom-building is going to be accomplished will depend entirely upon the responses of His "disciples". Thus, knowing that the effectiveness will rest in the decisions of others, He "lifts up His eyes" as instruments of His soul to those into whose hands He is going to entrust His Kingdom-building agenda. It is likely that this is the perspective taken by the apostle in 1 Timothy 1:12 and 2 Timothy 2:2 where "Kingdom-building" requires "faithful" servants. We probably ought to add this caveat: the "soul" function of depending upon "others" to do their part has two parts -- the human part where failure is endemic and the God part where failure is impossible: Jesus sought faithful men, but His confidence was in His Father. The Kingdom of God has not finally been entrusted into the hands of men and, thus, will come to pass according to His promise (Romans 4:21). But, on the other hand, when the promised Kingdom comes, those who have been "faithful" will be greatly rewarded (2 Peter 1:8).