As we come to the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, I bring you a children’s sermon on Luke 6:17-26. (You can find my regular Monday Meditation on this passage here.)
This passage lives in the shadow of the more famous version in Matthew’s Gospel. Luke’s emphasis is subtly different even with the Beatitudes as a shared core..
The Beatitudes are pretty complicated stuff, with or without Luke’s set of parallel sayings about how very “unblessed” people are who have wealth, food, joy and popularity.
A children’s sermon on Luke 6:17-26 really can’t cover the whole thing, or plow the depths of it. Better, I think, to take a small slice, leaving aside equally valuable material for now. They can wrestle with the rest another time.
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So, here you go, with a children’s sermon on Luke 6:17-26
A Children’s Sermon on Luke 6:17-26
Good morning kids! I’m so glad to see you. I think it’s just great that you are here in worship today.
These last few weeks in worship we’ve been hearing stories about when Jesus first started his work, telling people about the Kingdom of God.
Well, before long, word got around that Jesus was very wise and very loving. People wanted to come to him to learn about the Kingdom of God. And when people heard that Jesus could heal people, more and more people came to him for help.
The Upside-Down Kingdom
One day, when a very big crowd had gathered, Jesus said “You know, life in the Kingdom of God might not be exactly what you expect.”
“Why not?” asked Peter. (Peter was almost always the first one to speak up.)
Jesus said, “I think you’ll find that things in God’s Kingdom are kind of backwards to what you’re used to — kind of upside down.”
“Like what?” Peter asked.
“Well tell me this,” said Jesus. “When you look around in the world, who do you think is really happy?”
“Oh man,” said Peter. “I know the answer to that one. It’s the rich people! Boy, if I was rich I’d buy myself a big new fishing boat! And I’d have lots of good food every day! I’d laugh with all my friends, and never be sad or lonely. And I’d be on the town council so everybody would respect me and say good things about me. And—“
“Okay, Peter,” said Jesus, laughing, “slow down. We get the idea. Well, what if I told you that in the Kingdom of God it was totally the opposite?”
“What do you mean?” asked Peter.
“In God’s Kingdom,” said Jesus, “it’s the poor people who are happy.”
“Oh come on!” said Peter, “That’s crazy. How can you be happy if you’re poor?”
“I wonder,” said Jesus. “Poor people may not own anything in this world, but the whole Kingdom of God belongs to them. That’s something to be happy about!”
“I guess,” said Peter, but he didn’t sound convinced.
“You know who’s really sad in the Kingdom of God?” said Jesus.
“Who?” asked Peter.
“The rich people,” said Jesus.
“No way!” said Peter. “That’s impossible.”
“Really!” said Jesus, “They’ve had all their good things already.”
“Hmm…” said Peter.
Happy and Hungry?
“Want to know who else is happy in God’s Kingdom?” asked Jesus.
“Okay,” Peter said, still sounding doubtful.
“The hungry people,” said Jesus.
“What?!?” asked Peter. “How can they be happy if they’re hungry?”
“Oh, they totally can,” said Jesus. “The people who don’t have enough to eat have a very Kingdom-of-God sort of happiness.”
“What’s that mean?” asked Peter.
“Think about a time when you were really hungry,” said Jesus. “What happened?”
“Well, there was this time when I was a kid. My dad got sick and couldn’t go fishing for a while. We didn’t have any food. I was miserable!” said Peter.
“What else happened?” asked Jesus. “Like, maybe later, or the next day?”
“Oh,” said Peter. “Our neighbors brought us some food. That was pretty awesome.”
“See what I mean?” asked Jesus. “You were were hungry. And you were happy.”
“Only afterward,” said Peter. “When I wasn’t hungry any more.”
“But if you knew you were going to be fed,” said Jesus, “you could look forward to it and be happy while you were hungry. The hungry people in the Kingdom are actually happy—because they trust God will take care of them.”
“Okay, maybe that makes sense,” said Peter.
“Good,” said Jesus. “Let me tell you another riddle, and you see of you can solve it. In the Kingdom of God, people who are very sad are actually happy.”
“Jesus,” said Peter, “that makes no sense!”
“No, seriously,” said Jesus. “It’s a riddle. Think about it. Why might sad people be happy?”
Peter scowled as he thought about that. But then he smiled and said, “Okay, maybe because God is going to send someone to comfort them?”
“Right!” said Jesus. “And the people who are already well fed and happy and laughing? In the Kingdom of God they’re actually the sad ones.”
“Because…they have nothing good to look forward to?” asked Peter.
“That’s right,” said Jesus. “Good things come and go in life. If you’re full now, you’ll probably be hungry later sometime.” Then he paused and said. “You really are getting the hang of this, Peter.”
“That makes me happy!” asked Peter. “I think.”
- I wonder if poor people, and hungry people, and sad people actually feel happy in the Kingdom of God?
- I wonder how all the sick people felt as they waited and hoped Jesus would heal them?
- I wonder, when you feel hungry or sad, if you might think about what Jesus said about the Kingdom?
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