Luke 6 is a briefer form of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Some might be puzzled by Luke 6:23: it has been quoted to show we go to heaven when we die. “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy; for behold, your reward is great in heaven …” Truly there will be the greatest joy in that day when the kingdom of God is established, “for yours is the kingdom of God” (verse 20). This is when the meek are blessed “for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). The “kingdom of heaven” is a heavenly kingdom to come on earth.

However, what do the words in Luke mean? Why will they leap for joy in that day if heaven is the place of their reward the moment they die? What happens “in that day”? John 3:13 says “no one has ascended to heaven” except Jesus. Peter preached that even David “died and was buried … for David did not ascend into the heavens” (Acts 2:29,34).

The particular verse that clears up this mystery is the message of Jesus in Revelation 22:12, “Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to reward everyone for what he (or she) has done”. Jesus is bringing the reward to true believers when he returns to raise the dead and set up his kingdom. He will reward those who have truly served him and done their human best, aided by his grace, to live the way of life he preached. Then, as he told one man, “you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me” (Mark 10:21). Let us keep our feet firmly on the narrow path, that Jesus has trod before us!