We’ve been on a break from updating the website for a couple of weeks. We hope to be back regularly starting today. Our Bible reading plan for 2018 is a slower plan (typically a chapter a day) designed to take us through most of the New Testament and half the psalms at a pace to allow for more thought and reflection. Online devotional thoughts will draw from that day’s passage in the Bible Reading Calendar (you can download the calendar by clicking here).
As Jesus said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” – Luke 11:27-28 (ESV)
People talk all the time about being blessed. When athletes and entertainers win games or awards, they might speak of how blessed they feel. We even find on social media the hashtag #blessed used to describe something good that has happened.
To be blessed is to have an experience of goodness. The word essentially means to be made happy or to be in a happy state of being. This is more than a general sense of happiness that comes in day to day life. To be blessed typically involves and even greater cause for joy.
This is what the woman intended who called out to Jesus. She knew that Jesus was someone special, so his mother should be happy in a special way. And, indeed, Mary may have been. However, Jesus turned around the idea of blessing upon this woman. He replied to her that those truly blessed are those who hear and do God’s word.
Why is this so?
First, it’s because the Bible is God’s word about himself. God is great joy and he is the giver of great joy (Psalm 16:11, 1 Timothy 1:11, John 17:13). Therefore, to know God and experience his presence through his word is to be greatly blessed.
Second, it’s because the Bible is God’s word about our need for Jesus. The Bible is a book of “good news,” but we need the good news because of the bad news. The bad is that we all rebel against God and deserve death and hell. The good is that even though we had no way to rescue ourselves, Jesus came to rescue us from our rebellion. It is a great blessing to move from being enemies of God on a path toward hell to being children of God on a path toward eternal joys.
Third, it’s because the Bible tells us how to live “blessed” lives. As Jesus said in John 10:10—“The thief” (that is, sin, Satan, and death) “comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” When we turn to Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit, we have power to live different lives—lives that daily please God. Such lives rest in and reflect the goodness of Jesus who came to give us abundant life. The commands of Scripture steer us away from the way of the thief and into the way of Jesus, the way that is blessed.
So, cling to Jesus, hear the word of God, and do what it says. There you will find true blessing.