Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 5:3.

There was a rich man who wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. He has kept all the commandments he knew. He did not commit any murder or adultery. He did not attempt to steal from anyone, much less bear false witness to anyone. He has always honoured his mother and father. But when he was asked to give up all he had for eternal life, he was sad and walked away. This is the story of the rich man in Mark 10:17:22

Being poor in spirit has a lot to do with what the rich man needed to realize. It was not about keeping the commandments or being good that will allow a person into the kingdom of God and have eternal life. Because no one is good, only God is good.

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

That is what the rich man needed to realize. We will always fall short of the standard of God. No one is good. Even if you have completely obeyed all the commandments, rituals, and whatever spiritual discipline there is, you can never save yourself. That’s why Jesus said at the end of the Chapter about the rich man in Mark 10:

27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Because having eternal life is really impossible since the standard was so high no man could reach it. But God made a way of making it possible – not through any man but only through His son. Jesus is the only way. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for us. Being poor in spirit is realizing this truth! We are not able to save ourselves and even be worthy of the grace that was given to us through Jesus Christ. No amount of good works will be worthy of eternal life, only faith in Him. When we are poor in spirit we are rich in the fullness of the grace of God. His grace is our only be our main source of hope and joy. May we be blessed as we overflow with thankfulness because of what He has done for us because of our poorness in spirit.

What everyone ought to know about the Beatitudes

When we read Matthew chapter 5 we will see the 8 beatitudes of Jesus Christ.

Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

But what are these Beatitudes? When we hear the word “blessed” what does that mean? Are these merely promises we can hold on to or is there a deeper meaning behind the verses?

With one glance, one would immediately notice that the Beatitudes contain 8 conditions and then a certain promise with it. We can view verse 11 as the 9th beatitude but it is actually just an expansion of verse 10. Notice the difference in the wording from verse 10 to verse 11. Verse 10 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” while verse 11 says, “Blessed are you when people insult you.” Verse 11 shows an elaborated view of persecution mentioned in verse 10.

The word “blessed” was always used as a beginning statement. Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples, gathered at his feet and surrounded by a crowd listening intently to his teaching. As He was addressing his disciples he pronounces them blessed. The word “Beatitude” is from the Latin word happiness or blessedness. Thus this 8 beatitudes is Jesus declaring his disciples blessed and very fortunate.

The Promises was also sandwich between future and present assurances. Notice from verse 4 to verse 10 the promises are for the future. “They shall be comforted”…”they shall inherit the earth”…they shall be satisfied” and many more. But the promise in verse 6 and 10 relates to the present – “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” By sandwiching the future promises with the present, Jesus is telling his disciples that when you are part of the kingdom these future promises are yours. Being part of Jesus’ kingdom (family) will give you comfort, earthly ownership, righteousness by the power of God, mercy, a vision of God, and an adoption or title we don’t deserve, son of God. All these are yours! They come as part of being in the kingdom or family of God.   I like what John Piper said is his sermon about the Beatitude and the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The disciples sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his words as congratulations. “O how fortunate you are, my dear brothers! O how fortunate you are to be chosen of God, to have your eyes opened, to be drawn to the Savior, to be poor and mourning and meek and hungry and merciful and pure and peaceable! Rejoice! Rejoice and give thanks, my beloved disciples, that you are this kind of person, for it is not your own doing! It is the reign of God in your life.”

So the beatitudes are words of celebration for disciples—people who have been awakened by the present power of the age to come. And they are words of invitation for the crowds—the people who come to worship out of tradition or curiosity or skepticism. And for some they are words of transformation—by the power and mercy of God.

If you are clearly aware that you are a child of God and part of the kingdom of God. Rejoice with me! We need to see it as a person poor in spirit – we don’t deserve this kind of privilege but because of the grace of God, it was provided!  But if you are right now, not sure where you stand. Let me give you an invitation to know what each beatitude really means.

This is part of the series about the 8 beatitudes of Jesus Christ. May it all bless us and help us in knowing God more.

Please read the articles in my series. I would love to hear your thoughts about them by leaving a comment below.

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