“While He was saying these things, some woman lifted her voice above the murmur of the crowd, ‘Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.’ Jesus commented, ‘Even more blessed are those who hear God’s word and guard It with their lives.'” Luke 11:27, 28.

Jesus was always realistic. Some woman in the crowd was loudly commenting on His mother’s good fortune to have a son like Him. ‘Your mom was blessed to have a son like you,’ she shouted. She was probably thinking what a pleasure it must have been to raise a son like Jesus.

Did she have sons of her own? What problems did she have with them when they grew up – teenagers perhaps rebellious, perhaps failing Beth Safar (Elementary School), perhaps not interested in going to the synagogue every Sabbath. Had they disappointed her expectations? What prompted her to call out like that? We do not know but, whatever it was, it was a cry from her heart.

Jesus did not ignore her cry. Instead he redirected her thinking to something far more important and realistic than what was on her heart. Who are the really blessed ones? Not those whose children never give them any trouble, who don’t add to their grey hairs by disappointing them or abandoning them when they need them. Not those whose earthly circumstances are ideal.

He changes the ‘blessed’ (baruch – the supernatural favour of God) to ‘blessed’ (asher – the happiness that a person experiences by making the right choices, i.e., doing life God’s way). Yes, it is true that God’s favour is a blessing but to live God’s way brings happiness now and eternal rewards in the hereafter.

Jesus consistently and persistently turned people’s attention to what really mattered in life, to embrace God’s word and obey it faithfully. To Jesus, personal obedience to God was more valuable than any earthly benefit in life.

When His own family came to ‘rescue’ Him because they thought He had lost His mind, He shrugged off their concerns by asking, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ Pointing to the crowd He answered, ‘Those who do the will of my Father are my real family.’

The really blessed people are not those whose family life is ideal, or whose earthly circumstances are uncluttered with trouble and hardship. These may be blessings from God but, at best, they are temporary because everyone lives in a fallen world which will inevitably produce trouble of one kind or another.

Who are the really blessed people? Those who have received the gift of eternal life – the life of the spirit, connected to Jesus, the source of life, through faith in Him. Whatever happens now cannot take away the promise of life in its fullness with God in the hereafter. Earthly blessings have no influence on the life to come. It is only guaranteed to those who embrace and obey God’s word.

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Luella Campbell

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