The Sunday lectionary reading for the Third Sunday before Lent in Year C is Luke 6.17–26, this gospel’s version of the Beatitudes. One of the most obvious questions arising from the reading is how they relate to the Beatitudes as recorded in Matt 5.1–12. This might seem like a distraction to preaching on the passage itself, but I think there are three reasons why we need to take this seriously.
First, people in our congregations notice these things! People notice the differences when they read the gospels! Secondly, engaging with the question of the relationship between the two does affect our reading of each. We do need to take seriously each text in its own right—otherwise, why bother with reading four gospels rather than just consolidating them into one harmonised version? This leads into the third issue—that some readings of the gospels treat them as if there were four different Jesuses (from which we choose our favourite), rather than four different accounts of the one Jesus, with his teaching drawn out and applied with different emphases and in different contexts.
But how do the Beatitudes in Luke relate to those in Matthew? And what about the addition of the woes? How does that affect the way we preach on this passage in Luke?
In this video, James Blandford-Baker, Vicar of Histon with Impington, north of Cambridge, and I discuss all these issues and reflect on how they shape our reading, interpretation, and preaching.
You can see the full article about this passage in the previous blog post here.