"Blessed are the Poor... Woe to the Rich"

  "Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 'But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.'" (Luke 6.20, 24, NIV)

"Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 'But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.'" (Luke 6.20, 24, NIV)

The kingdom of God, as exemplified in Jesus Christ, is the radical in-breaking of the economy of God into the economy of our world. The gospel accounts tell the story of a humble king who subjugated himself to the ultimate humiliation: incarnation and death on a cross for the sake of our transformation.

This transformation is carried out by revelation, viz., the incarnation of the logos: the fundamental, divine, and alien truth (in the holistic sense of the Greek word alḗtheia) uniting reality's constituent parts. This logos and his ministry of healing and chastisement are concordant with the ministry of alḗtheia in the social ministry of prophetic figures of our history. 

This radical in-breaking is truly counter-cultural; it is God's "No" to the predominant view of the genealogy of morals in societies, to the blatant disregard for poor and working people, and to the cruel methods of exploitation of the downtrodden for the benefit of the well-to-do. 

The mission of God is (and has always been) to secure the welfare of poor and working people and destroy those who exploit them. 



This missiology is evident in the sermon on the mount. Jesus makes it clear that God blesses the poor and hints of the damnation of the rich. The assumption here is not that the rich became so due to their merit alone. No; Jesus rejects this meritocratic point of view.

Rather, he introduces a radical perspective: God will not comfort the rich when they die since (1) their comfort hs already been afforded to them by their riches, and (2) they became rich at the expense of the poor. 

With 60% of Americans owning 2.3% of the wealth, and the top 1% owning 35% of the nation's wealth, we have to inquire from where this wealth comes and why this inequality is so great. Here is an article worth reading that suggests that a similar wealth gap existed in first-century Palestine, as well.

Let us assume what Jesus assumes: God does not look favorably upon the wealthy insofar as they exploit the poor.