The text is our gospel reading. Our Lord has just been on a mountain where He prayed through the night. In the morning, He called His disciples to gather around Him. Luke doesn’t tell us how many that was but from these disciples He chose 12 who are now referred to as ‘Apostles.’
“And He came down the mountain 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, who came to HEAR him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to TOUCH him, for power came out from him and healed them all.”
Again, this is just what the church looks like and why you’ve come here today. We’ve come here to “hear Him” and to “touch him.” Just like we saw last Sunday in the Divine Service conducted on the beach by the sea of Gennessaret, now again the pattern is repeated here at this Divine Service on the “level place.” First we HEAR Him speak His Word that heals us. Then we come and TOUCH Him, for power comes out from him and heals us all.
“And He lifted up his eyes on his disciples…”
• “Disciples” are all those who desire to HEAR Him and TOUCH Him, because they know that His Word is true and power comes out from him to heal us of that disease that causes all of our diseases – our sin.
• “Disciples” are followers of Jesus. Which doesn’t necessarily mean they follow wherever He goes like the Apostles will do. But it does mean that Jesus goes with them wherever they go – and they know that.
• “Disciples” are those who strive to live their lives in such a way that pleases Jesus – but not because they hope that by doing so He will bless them. That would be selfish and loveless.
• “Disciples” strive to live their lives in such a way that pleases Jesus because He has already blessed them – and NOT because they have been so faithful, but solely because He loves them. And so “disciples” are those who strive to live their lives according to His will and His word, as their sacrifice of gratitude and thanksgiving to Him.
So when we hear that “Jesus lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you…” we want to be sure to hear what He actually says. Because as we all know we can sometimes hear what we want to hear or what we expect to hear and maybe even hear what He never said at all. Continue reading