Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3
Thesis: The "blessedness" of being fully fed is reserved for the hungry.
Introduction: In our study last week we looked into the declaration that the Kingdom of God is given to those who are "poor". We saw that this statement is a huge stumbling block to all the people in the world who are not "poor" in their own eyes because it denies to them any part in God's Kingdom. And it is a huge stumbling block to all the people in the world who are not "poor", but think they are, because they think they are qualified for a part in God's Kingdom, but are not.
It is a stumbling block partially because it is a deliberate and frontal attack upon one of the most fundamental, most deeply embraced, beliefs of man. Jesus' intention in His teaching, having descended from the mountain, was to set forth the actual nature of God's ultimate Truth for those who would at least begin to believe Him. To do that, He had to challenge the erroneous beliefs of the vast masses of humanity at the most basic levels. There is no more basic level of error than the belief that Jesus confronted by His statement that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are "poor". The reason is that "poverty", from Jesus' point of view, has to do with an "attitude", not with the level of one's material resources. But, also from Jesus' point of view, the level of one's material resources is a direct contributor to the "attitude". The attitude is this: I have a right to Life. This attitude also has three complicating elements that come along with it: I also have a right to determine what "Life" is supposed to be; I have a right to determine how I am going to pursue it; and I have a right to use the money I have in that pursuit.
Folks, one of the greatest lies in God's universe was written into the Declaration of Independence of what has become the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and it was written there by men of wealth who paraded themselves around as "worshippers of Nature's God". That lie is this: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...". This is the same "line" that Lucifer used in his initial rebellion. It is the same "line" that Eve used in the Garden. It is the same "line" that Adam passed on to every one of his offspring. It is the same "line" that children use to justify their rebellion against their parents. And it is the same "line" that human beings will again use at the end of the Kingdom Age when they rebel in force against their God.
It is no wonder that Jesus, Who was most interested in preparing human beings for participation in the Eternal Kingdom of God, confronted this lie as the first of His declarations about the true nature of that Kingdom. There will be no one in that Kingdom who clings to this lie. The only human beings who will be in God's final Kingdom will be those who, recognizing they do not have a "right" to any of the blessings of God, come to Him as the beggars they are in humble appeal. It's no wonder Jesus was rejected of men.
It is also no wonder, however, that the very next statement that Jesus made is like unto the first. In this second statement Jesus declared that "hunger" qualifies men for future "fulfillment". By this declaration Jesus again confronted one of mankind's most basic delusions. Remember, it was Jesus' intention to confront the darkness that had come to characterize God's creation. To do that, He had to address the issues at the most basic levels. One of those levels is the contribution that material prosperity makes to the arrogance of man. Another of those levels is the contribution that having too much to eat makes to the double-mindedness of man.
October 14, 2007
- I. The Issue in Jesus' Declaration: Hunger.
- A. The "hunger" issue, like the "poverty" issue, is a "metaphor".
- 1. Physical issues are seldom, if ever, the final issue.
- 2. Physical issues are almost always metaphors that allow empirical realities to stand as a foundation for understanding in the areas that really count.
- a. Paul declared that "now abide faith, hope, and love -- these three -- but the greatest of these is love."
- b. None of these three greatest issues of Life are "physical".
- 3. Hunger, at its most basic physical roots, is a physical sensation that the body generates in order to get the spirit that indwells it to stuff something into its mouth.
- a. This is not a "qualifier" for "eternal satisfaction".
- b. This means that we have to look beyond the physical sensation to find the truth.
- 4. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that the word used by Jesus indicates a "painful deficiency in the things necessary to life."
- a. If Theological Dictionary of the New Testament's observation is valid, "hunger" stands as a metaphor for the pain that is involved in not having something crucial for Life.
- b. If "hunger" is what is "felt" because of the absence of something crucial to "Life", then what Jesus is actually talking about is being in pain because one's experience is very much less than what Life gives.
- B. The "hunger" issue, like the "poverty" issue, loses most of its "punch" if we disconnect it from its foundations in material reality.
- 1. Jesus could have spoken in "ultimate terms".
- 2. Jesus spoke in metaphorical terms because of the benefit that happens to men at the "ultimate" levels when they use the material level properly.
- a. Those who allow material poverty to teach them true humility inherit in the Kingdom.
- b. Those who allow physical hunger to teach them the lesson of hunger are destined to be fully satiated.
- 1) The essence of "blessedness" is how the future will play out for one's eternal good.
- 2) Hunger plays a part in how eternity is going to play out.
- II. The Issue of Hunger.
- A. In Jesus' declaration about how "poverty" enables a person to take part in the Kingdom of God, we saw that the meaning of His words is that if a person comes to the stark awareness of his total bankruptcy before God, his absolute lack of any "right" to the Life of God, he can come to God in true humility and find God willing to make him an heir of a fantastic Kingdom.
- B. So, what is the "lesson" of "hunger"?
- 1. To answer, we turn first to Luke's first reference to the "hungry": 1:50-55.
- a. This is a part of Mary's glorification of God in response to being made His instrument for the incarnation of His Son for the redemption of the world.
- 1) The "big theme" in Mary's statement is how her "soul" and her "spirit" have been affected by God's choice of her for this massively critical task (1:46-47).
- 2) In the outworking of that "theme" there are two parts.
- a) In 1:48-49 the focus is upon the "spiritual" issue of being enormously exalted by extraordinary power so much so that all generations call her "blessed".
- b) In 1:50-55 the focus is upon God's potent "mercy" (inclusio: verses 50 and 55) in filling the hungry with good things while sending the rich away empty.
- b. The point in this context is that those who "fear" God get "mercy" and those who do not, get "scattered" and "sent away empty".
- c. So there is a rather direct link between the "pain of hunger" and "the filling of mercy".
- 2. Then, for more understanding, we turn next to Luke's next reference to "hunger": 4:2.
- a. In this context, the "big theme" is Jesus' successful resistance to the devil's attempt to frustrate God's plan for the redemption of the world.
- b. Within this "resistance" is Jesus' willingness to get extremely hungry just to be loyal to His Father.
- c. The point in this context is that God did not fill Jesus with good things until after He demonstrated a "steadfastness to the truth (about the nature of the Father) even to the point of death."
- d. So there is a second rather direct link: the willingness to be hungry in the will of God is a demonstration of steadfast loyalty.
- 3. Then, we go to Luke's third reference: 6:3.
- a. At first blush, this looks like the absolute contradiction of 4:2 (why is David justified by hunger to violate the Law?).
- b. But in the flow of the "hunger" theme, this is a critical issue: the willingness to be hungry must be driven by steadfast loyalty to the will of God, not by the desire to be applauded for self denial as in Luke 18:12.
- 4. And, finally, we look ahead to Luke's last direct reference to "hunger": 6:25.
- a. Here there is a "woe" upon those who refused to allow "hunger" to be their experience.
- b. The point is that there are substitutes for "fullness" that disallow people to "feel" the pain of a significant absence of a critical aspect of Life.
- C. So, what's the bottom line?
- 1. Physical "hunger" is not to be allowed to provide the motivation for what is to be done.
- 2. When one's soul is "steadfast" in identifying the real truth about Life, "blessed" are you who "hunger" for you shall be filled.
- 3. What is the "real truth about Life"? (Return to the intro where the lie is addressed.)
- a. Being loyal to God is the issue.
- b. Being loyal to God in this world will bring a critical shortage of the experience of those qualities that make Life good: loyal people will be "hungry", but it will bring them to blessedness if they do not let it determine what they are going to do.