Luke 6:17–26 (ESV)
Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude
17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
Jesus Pronounces Woes
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
There is something about the lifestyle of Jesus that always seems to surprise me. When we consider his life, we often think that his audience was always Jewish. This is common since he did speak in the lands of Israel. But in this passage, we get a glimpse into something more. People from all over Judea and Jerusalem and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon came to listen to him. This struck me this week as I was contemplating this passage, so I got out a map. The lands of Tyre and Sidon are north west of Israel. Tyre was an ancient Phoenician city which is now located in Lebanon. Sidon is further north along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, also in Lebanon. These cities currently are currently the third and fourth largest cities in Lebanon. Israel has a long history with the area of Lebanon. At times they were allies and at other times enemies. And between these two cities was Zarephath the city Elijah went during the great famine and was fed by the widow. These were not Jewish people they were of Phoenician ancestry, they were Gentiles, but they were Gentiles whose history had witnessed the power of the God of Israel. Jesus is attracting a following of people that stretches throughout Israel and out into neighboring provinces. Which should remind us that the gospel is not confined to nations of men, that God’s grace and love is for all people.