(Luke 6: 20-26)
These famous sayings must have exercised a powerful attraction for the downtrodden people
who made up much of the early Christian community. Quite specific rewards are offered in
compensation for present suffering. The emphasis on the wickedness of the rich is very much in
the tradition of Jewish prophets like Amos. Political liberals have generally preferred this
version of the Beatitudes, conservatives, the more spiritual version in Matthew 5.
What rewards are promised to those that suffer in this life?
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you
on account of the Son of Man. (1)
Rejoice in that Day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what
their ancestors did to the prophets. (2)
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
New Revised Standard Version
(1) Jesus himself, a Messianic title of disputed meaning.
(2) Many passages in the Christian Scriptures seem aimed at strengthening the faith of those
under persecution for their beliefs. It had become a tradition to believe that all the ancient
Jewish prophets had been persecuted.
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This is an excerpt from Reading
About the World, Volume 1, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Gallwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers
Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by
Harcourt Brace Custom Publishing.
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