Who does God bless?

I’ve often wondered if - or how - God blesses me.

Imagine the Creator of Everything personally blessing my life.

At times, I’ve bargained with God.

I admit that when I was younger, it often sounded like, “If you help me get a date with her, I’ll do anything for you!” Looking back on it, as disappointing as it was at the time, I’m grateful God didn’t answer those prayers.

Today’s liturgical reading includes Luke 11:14-28. In particular, Luke 11:27-28 caught my attention:

As he was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the one who nursed you!”

He said, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

In many evangelical churches, the formula is quite simple:

Believe the gospel → God forgives you of your sin → you go to heaven when you die.

As important as that message is, I’m struck by how Jesus explains God’s blessing:

Hear the word of God → obey the word of God → be blessed by God.

There’s a trend in marketing that goes like this: “A delightfully sinful indulgence!” The idea is that sin is delightful - it’s a blessing to indulge yourself with their product.

In a thousand ways, we’re told that doing what we want to do is the way to live the best life.

But Jesus clarifies that the route to the good life is very different: orienting ourselves to the word of God - and putting it into practice.

Interestingly, it appears that Jesus refers to his words as the word of God. It’s one more clue - out of many scattered throughout the gospels - that Jesus saw himself as God.

Can you imagine if I said, about my own words that they were the words of God? You’d think I was crazy. Yet Jesus does this in an ordinary, matter-of-fact way as his immediate response to someone in a crowd.

What do you think about Luke 11:27-28?

How does Jesus’ understanding of blessing differ from your own?

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