Luke 6:20

ESV And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
NIV Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
NASB And He raised His eyes toward His disciples and began saying, 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
CSB Then looking up at his disciples, he said: Blessed are you who are poor, because the kingdom of God is yours.
NLT Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, 'God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
KJV And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

What does Luke 6:20 mean?

Jesus is on a "level place" teaching a large crowd (Luke 6:17). It might be the same event as the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5—7 as "level place" can mean a high plateau. Like the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins with blessings.

"Lifted up his eyes" has the same effect as "opened his mouth" (Matthew 5:2). It provides a "beat:" a moment which allows a reader to settle, before delving into Jesus' important message.

Where Matthew records Jesus blessing the "poor in spirit," Luke just mentions "poor." Literally, the term refers to those who do not have enough physical resources. The practical interpretation is supported by the next verse's blessing of the "hungry," as opposed to Matthew's spiritualized "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6) and the corresponding woe to the rich who have more than an average amount of worldly resources (Luke 6:24). Luke's account suggests that the poverty and hunger are caused by the persecution suffered by those who follow Jesus (Luke 6:22).

The blessing for the poor is the only one given in the present tense. The kingdom of God is twofold: now and not yet. Ultimately, it is eternity in paradise in the presence of God the Trinity. Right now, it is the manifest expression of God's power, might, and sovereignty on the earth, including peace in the face of hardship.

Because the poor can experience the kingdom of God, they are empowered to follow Jesus' commands to give away things that seem necessary, knowing that God will provide (Luke 6:29–30). This is evident in charitable giving; studies frequently show those who earn slightly less income than the cultural average give a greater percentage of it to charity than any other bracket, except for those who are ultra-rich.

This promise is true, but it is a generalization. When Luke speaks of the poor, it's almost always related to those who rely on God for their needs. Obviously, not all financially poor people will inherit God's kingdom. Not all rich people are left out of heaven (Luke 19:1–10). Luke 6:20–23 is best taken as a whole: those who are persecuted because they follow Jesus may weep and suffer hunger and poverty, but they will receive direct recompense because they follow Jesus, not because they suffer.
What is the Gospel?
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