The word “woe” is an expression of grief or sorrow about a particular situation. In Luke 6:24-26, Jesus expresses some “woes” over situations in which man often glories. He says, “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
All of these points must be considered in a way that is in harmony with the context and with other passages. As you consider this passage in this way, Jesus is not saying that riches are inherently sinful, that you cannot enjoy good meals and be full, that you cannot enjoy any moment in life, or that everyone who knows you must speak evil of you. Instead, I want you to focus on a word that gives the true idea behind what Jesus is saying: “now.”
Jesus is presenting a contrast between living for these things versus living for Him! Those who pursue after these earthly points of enjoyment at the expense of serving the Lord will receive their prize now – only to suffer later! So, Jesus is demonstrating that it is better to suffer now and rejoice later (in Heaven) than to rejoice now and suffer later (in Hell).
As you consider this text and properly understand Jesus’ point, you must make personal application. Is Jesus mourning for you due to the way you are living your life?
If You Are Rich
Are you pursuing after earthly riches? Have you made earthly wealth your focus in life? Do you ever pursue riches rather than serve God? If so, Jesus is mourning for you – because He knows that you are receiving the only reward you will receive – a reward that will soon vanish away.
If You Are Full
Are you pursuing after a life of luxury? Are you consumed by your own physical desires? Do you ever pursue your own physical desires rather than serve God? If so, Jesus is mourning for you – because He knows that you will be spiritually starving later.
If You Laugh
Are you pursuing the greatest enjoyment from life possible? Are you failing to take life seriously? Do you ever pursue your own pleasures and entertainment rather than serve God? If so, Jesus is mourning for your – because He knows that you will be mourning and weeping later.
If You Are Well-Spoken Of
Are your pursuing popularity among your peers? Do you have a burning desire to be liked by everyone? Do you ever pursue your desire to be well-spoken of rather than serve God? If so, Jesus is mourning for you – because this is the way of ungodliness and false teachers.
Is Jesus mourning for you – right now? He understands that the things of this life are only temporary – and any pleasures that are based on this life are only temporary (Matthew 6:19-21). He wants you to suffer with Him now – so that you can rejoice with Him for all of eternally (compare with Luke 6:20-23)!