Blessed are Poor in Spirit
Beatitude 1 : Poor In Spirit
- ‘Poor in Spirit’ is a quite difficult phrase to understand. The word for ‘poor’ in Greek (’Ptochos‘) literally means having nothing, reduced to begging, like a beggar, totally broke. (Luke 6:20 uses only ‘poor’ in his version of sermon!)
- While monetary poverty can also be inferred from these verses, what Jesus really meant was spiritual poverty.
- You can be really poor and yet be arrogant and prideful, or you can be rich and still be poor in the spirit. (King David in Old Testament is great example of this, in spite of being King, he had a humble and contrite heart.)
- ‘Spiritual poor’ is exactly what it sounds like. It is a state when you realize that you have nothing and need constant help.
- We have to be careful here not to compare outward modesty with this characteristics. I strongly believe that it is a picture of a man with humble and broken heart who constantly need help from God for his very existence.
- This image is a stark contrast to the self-contained, self-sufficient spirit which world long for. But in the Kingdom of Heaven, this is the most important qualification, you can have.
- Isaiah 66:1-2: “Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
- Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.”
- Psalms 51 is a great example of a man who is craving for God’s spirit. (This Psalm is King David’s confession and repentance after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.)
- Ps 51:10 : “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
- Ps 51:12 : “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”
- Ps 51:17 : “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
- The opposite of ‘Poor in Spirit’ is ‘proud in spirit’. The Pride of life is one of the three roots of sin and independence from God. (1 John 2:16)
- Poverty of spirit is the root of all virtues. It is the state of heart; it is how you view yourself in light of God. In this regard, this first beatitude is the root from which all other beatitudes grows.
The Promise: Kingdom of Heaven
- ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is a peculiar title only found in the gospel of Matthew. This term is used interchangeably with ‘Kingdom of God’ in other gospels. Kingdom of Heaven is the messianic kingdom promised in old testament, to be established by Messiah. (Daniel 2:44) Matthew represents Jesus as the savior and king prophesied in old testament.
- Kingdom of God (Heaven) is in twofold:
- Already Here: Luke 17:20-21: “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
- Yet to Come: Kingdom of Heaven will be fully realized and established when Christ will come as a King and Ruler over all earth. (Daniel 7: 13,14,27)
- What a blessed hope and promise, Jesus offers to those who are poor in the spirit. “Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
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