“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
A steep, winding road was once likened to someone having dropped a random piece of spaghetti on the mountain side. But there is nothing random or haphazard about the order of the Beatitudes, taking their lead from the first one, they all have the same formula and follow in a logical order. The first 4 deal with our relationship to God; while the final 4 with our responsibilities towards one another.
Some Bible translations use the word “happy,” but this is inadequate because happiness depends on what happens to us, and our feelings about those happenings inevitably go up and down. Blessed therefore is a better word, referring to a deep, abiding sense of happiness that is not troubled by circumstances. So who are these blessed people?
The poor in spirit.
The happiest and most blessed people are not the materially poor (Luke 6 v 20); but rather those who have turned to God with empty hands, thrown themselves on his mercy and received his gift of salvation (Luke 18 v 9 – 14) – “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling” (A.M.Toplady.) It is only those who recognise their abject spiritual poverty and utter helplessness before God who are able to receive and be blessed (Ephesians 2 v 8 – 9.) But what is the reward for those who are “poor in spirit?”
The Kingdom of heaven.
This is not an earthly, temporal Kingdom built on military might or political alliance; rather it is a heavenly, spiritual Kingdom that is built on the rule and reign of Christ. The Bible speaks of this Kingdom in three ways:-
1 > A present Kingdom.
It was present in the person of, and in the authoritative preaching and signs following ministry of Jesus when in the flesh (Matthew 12 v 28.)
2 > A Personal Kingdom.
It is present within all true believers whose hearts have humbly submitted to Christ’s rule and reign in their lives (Luke 17 v 21.) They are in the Kingdom and the Kingdom is in them (Colossians 1 v 13.)
3 > A Powerful Kingdom.
It is a powerful coming Kingdom, which as yet has not arrived in all its fullness. It is now, but not yet; but a day is coming when the rule and reign of Christ will be acknowledged over all the earth (Revelation 11 v 15.) Satan and evil will be defeated; the new heaven and earth will be established and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess the supreme Lordship of King Jesus (Philippians 2 v 10 – 11.)
Challenge – Where are you searching for your happiness? If you are searching outside of God then you will never fully discover it. For it is only the poor in spirit, those to whom the Kingdom of heaven belongs, that can truly blessed. Are you “poor in spirit?”
Theme: “Empty hands!”
Reading: Matthew 5 v 1 – 12
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Richard Sills