An alternate city in every city – Christians

By Dave Henning / February 7, 2022

“Jesus’s [Sermon on the Mount] creates a ‘city on a hill’ — an alternate human society pointing toward the City of God that will fill the earth at the end of time.  Christians are an alternate city in every city.”- Timothy Keller

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”- Luke 6:22-23 (NIV)

In Chapter 11 (“Hope in the Face of Suffering”) of Hope in Times of Fear, Timothy Keller hotes how the resurrection changes how we view and experience difficulties, as well as suffering, in this life.  And the account of the Sermon on the Mount found in Luke addresses more directly the ways for Christians to face difficulties.

Therefore, Pastor Keller takes a close look at Luke 6:20-26.  First, in verse 20, Jesus refers to the kingdom of God.  Certainly, the English word kingdom makes us think of a country.  But, the Greek word used in Luke refers more to a reign than a realm.  Thus reign refers to a way of administering and arranging a society of people.

Next, the word laugh (verse 21) comes from the Greek word for gloating.  Here Jesus refers more to success than happiness.  He points to people who have competed and won, then proceed to gloat about it.

Finally, Jesus lists the values of His kingdom.  The lives of the ‘blessed’ go exactly the opposite of those in the world.  As a result, Pastor Keller paraphrases,we find that weakness, deprivation, loss, and exclusion mark the kingdom of God.

In addition, Pastor Keeler notes, Michael Wilcock sums up the teaching of Luke nicely. Writing in his commentary on the book of Luke, Wilcock states:

“In the life of God’s people will be seen first of all a remarkable reversal of values (Luke 6:20-26).  They will prize what the world calls pitiable, and suspect what the world calls desirable.”

Today’s question: What does it mean to you as a Christian to be an alternate city in every city?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Grain of the universe – go against”

About the author

Dave Henning

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