Daily Bread #19
The Blessed Beatitude in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
This is a lesson in character building for those in the kingdom
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Jesus left the wilderness after being tempted for forty days and forty nights to begin His Father’s business, preach the coming of the kingdom of God. The message was simple, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). The multitude that followed Him has been waiting for the Messiah and coming of the kingdom of God. Jesus’ miracles did not only create astonishment in the hearts and minds of the crowed, but His powerful wonder working signs caused much of the people to follow Him also, hence Matthew 5:1.
From this great throng of people are the curious, the fault finders, the doubters, those sent by authorities to find out who this Man was, the uncommitted and those who determined to be His followers – His disciples. Verses 1-2 specifically state that “His disciples came to him and he opened his mouth and taught them saying…” While the teaching might be geared toward those who have decided to follow Jesus, the whole multitude heard Him and was astonished at what He taught them (Matt. 7:28). The Lord begins with the famous word formula “Blessed are the” as a style to introduce each adjective that follows immediately after.
The word “blessed” that opens verse 3 has a range of meaning to it. Most dictionaries provide the following: “to be happy,” “to be fortunate or privileged,” “a delight,” a “state of well -being,” and “to be bless.” The word refers to more than having a mere feeling of happiness. The individual is described as “blessed” because he acknowledges what is true about him; he is “poor in spirit.” This phrase is not a reference to a person’s financial status; rather, it is a person coming to terms with his/her spiritual status before God. That person realizes that he lacks spiritual well-being without the help of God. He has nothing in him apart from God that would move God to say that such a person belongs to the kingdom. He knows he is spiritually bankrupt and is leaning on God for help.
This person sees his condition before God and acknowledges his total dependence on God for spiritual health. Luke describe such a man in 18:3, “The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am” (Luke 18:13 NET). This is all that a person is before God until God helps that person. Acknowledging his need for God and therefore seeks God for spiritual help makes one a prospect for the kingdom of heaven. The New English Bible states the essence of the verse correctly. “How blest are those who know their need of God, to them belong the kingdom of God.”
- We have no future in the kingdom of heaven until we see how spiritually helpless we are without God, and then move to do something about it.
- Christians today claim the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:3 because they confess their helpless to God in songs like, “without you Lord, without you Lord, I can’t make without you Lord.”
- When we learn to acknowledge what God says about us and we respond to seek God to make our spiritual status rich in Him, the reward that He provides is priceless – we have ownership to the kingdom of heaven.
The Beltway Church of Christ is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in Prince George’s County, MD near Joint Base Andrews.