Nearly all ventures that we undertake in life have pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, blessings and woes. Discipleship, i.e. becoming or being a disciple, is no different. But before we proceed, we need to find out who a disciple is. A disciple is a pupil or learner, in essence, an apprentice. So, a disciple of Christ is a pupil, a learner or an apprentice of Christ
Christ Himself tells us who a true disciple of His is John 8:31. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed".
Thus, true discipleship requires continuing, remaining in Jesus’ words, and this continuing or remaining will surely bring us both good things and troubles, blessings and woes. In the sense that, on the one hand, God will be pleased and bless us, on the other hand, people will be displeased and they will foment trouble for us.
That is what Jesus talked about in Luke 6:20-26. Our continuing to be disciples of Christ may mean being poor, it may mean going hungry, it may mean being hated, reproached and ostracized…these are woes…but at the same time, they are our source of blessing, eternal blessing; for Jesus said to rejoice and leap for joy for great is our reward in heaven when we suffer these things as a result of being his disciples.
But, as we find in the two other readings which, for the sake of time, were not read for us, the blessings of trusting and following God are not limited to the afterlife:
So, David said…
1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Jeremiah also said…
1. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
2. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
God is, by this message, encouraging us. He wants to be strong in our minds and in our resolve to follow Him, to continue in His word, to do His bidding, to be His disciples, knowing that though we will face some woes, we will also be blessed in this life and in the life to come. Amen.