Luke 6:[27] “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. [29] To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. [30] Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. [31] And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Jesus has just finished pronouncing four woes upon the rich, the full, the happy and the popular (verses 24-26). As He begins this next section in His message He lets it be known that He is not speaking to them any longer but to real believers. He calls them, “you who hear”.

This tells us that the rich, full, happy, popular ones of verses 24-26 are those who do not hear Jesus. They are those who love their money, their comforts, their personal happiness and their popularity more than they love Jesus. They do not hear Jesus Christ and follow Him or His teachings. Real followers are, in the words of verses 20-23, those who are poor, hungry, sad, and very unpopular.

That Jesus does not mean that poverty, hunger, sadness and persecution guarantee salvation is clear from this introduction in verse 24 – They may be hard pressed in many ways, but they hear what Jesus has to say. What Jesus means by hearing is obvious. Those who really hear are those who will pay attention to what Jesus is saying and will demonstrate it through obedience. Money, satisfaction, laughter and popularity plug the ears of those who have them. They stop people from hearing a message about real riches, real satisfaction, real happiness and real influence.

This is why Jesus says in another place that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Luke 18:25). They don’t hear. Their ears are stuffed with money. Of course, it is not just those with money who cannot hear. It is those who are busy trying to get more. You do not have to have a lot of money in order for it to stop up your ears (I Timothy 6:9-10). The same is true of creature comforts. Hungry people will find it more difficult to hear the Gospel over the growl of their stomachs. This is what Jesus is talking about in the parable of the sower when He says that the cares of the world choke the word (Matthew 13:22). Unhappiness causes many people to chase after many things and the promise of happiness that the Gospel carries with it is often not heard because people already have an idea of what will make them happy. And no one wants to be hated, but it is part of the calling of the Gospel (Luke 6:22).

The call to come to Jesus and be opposed will deafen many to the marvelous claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who are those who hear? They are those for whom the call of Jesus upon them is louder than the call of all these other things. It is a miracle of saving grace to be able to hear the voice of Christ over the cacophony of a thousand other things that demand first place in our lives. And a miracle of grace is precisely what people get. People who hear do not hear because they start obeying what Jesus is saying here. They start obeying Jesus because God the Holy Spirit has enabled them to hear. The Gospel is not about self improvement. It is about God giving ears to hear, bringing people to faith, and changing them so drastically that they obey even the difficult commandments contained in this sermon of Jesus’.

And if you claim to know Christ then it will show by not chasing after money, comfort, temporary happiness and popularity. We need to examine ourselves and see if in any way we have the marks of those who do not hear Jesus Christ. Do you claim to know Him and yet are still chasing after the things that mark the spiritually deaf? God is not mocked. We cannot serve two masters. There is only one voice worth listening to.

This is God’s beloved Son – Hear Him (Luke 9:35).