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Matthew 4:25-5:3

The Poor in Spirit

4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Whenever I begin to write one of these devotions, I like to browse through a variety of resources for an illustration or two that will help me to get the point across. This evening, as I looked through several files, I was struck by the fact that there were no illustrations for the words "poor" or "poverty".

After thinking about it, I realized that, if you ask them, most people will tell you they are poor. Why, then, would we need to illustrate a condition which everyone experiences firsthand. I know people who earn three times what I and my family have to live on, and yet they will stand and give me a long detailed account of how poor they are. Perhaps poverty is a relative term in today's culture.

On the other hand, few people will admit to being spiritually poor. They want to think that they have life figured out and they are spiritually healthy. Perhaps Jesus began His famous Sermon on the Mount with this topic, because He knew it would raise some eyebrows and get their attention.

After He gained a reputation for preaching something new and for healing and casting out demons, people followed Him. As the large crowds moved about, they must have drawn even more people. Jesus probably withdrew from the crowds to the mountain, in order to speak privately with His disciples. The crowds followed, however, so we must assume that this was spoken primarily for their benefit.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..." is the first of several dichotomies to be seen in this sermon. "Blessed" is from a Greek word meaning "happy". Jesus used it in a unique way, because it implies much more than our notion of happiness. It might be said that "Spiritually blissful are the poor in spirit."

What, then, does it mean to be "poor in spirit"? By "poor", Jesus meant to say "beggardly" or "totally destitute". Of course, all men are spiritually destitute. All have sinned and come short of God's glory, but Jesus is talking about those who recognize and admit their poverty. He had in mind those who see that they are nothing in the presence of God and are willing to admit it. Most men will not confess such a thing. Pride stands in their way.

Notice that there is no commandment here, because man cannot arrive at the point of understanding his own spiritual poverty, unless the Spirit of God reveals the truth to him. (1Cor.2:10-11) This is a character trait of the elect presented to the crowd by Jesus.

Furthermore, the reason that the spiritually destitute are at the same time spiritually ecstatic is that they own the kingdom of heaven. They are heirs to God's kingdom and that is an irreversible trust. Many people tend to think of this as a future happiness, but Jesus used the present tense, which is not only present, but continuous. Think about that, or maybe it is just too amazing to imagine. You, a born again Christian, are co-owner of the kingdom of heaven with Christ and His church. That is wealth that lasts forever... cannot be spent or given away. It is yours to keep.

Before The Throne:

Pray that God would never allow you to forget the spiritual poverty from which He raised you. Come into His presence with humility and thanksgiving. Call Him Abba, Daddy, because He has made you His heir. Tell Him how happy He has made you. Ask what you can do for the kingdom.

For Further Study:

**followed. Matt 5:1; Matt 8:1; Matt 12:15; Matt 19:2; Mark 3:7; Mark 6:2; Luke 6:17, 19; ** Decapolis. Mark 5:20; Mark 7:31;

(v.1) ** seeing. Matt 4:25; Matt 13:2; Mark 4:1; ** he went. Matt 15:29; Mark 3:13, 20; John 6:2-3; ** his. Matt 4:18-22; Matt 10:2-4; Luke 6:13-16;

(v.2) ** Matt 13:35; Job 3:1; Ps 78:1-2; Prov 8:6; Prov 31:8-9; Luke 6:20-26; Acts 8:35; Acts 10:34; Acts 18:14; Eph 6:19;

(v.3) ** Blessed. Matt 5:4-11; Matt 11:6; Matt 13:16; Matt 24:46; Ps 1:1; Ps 2:12; Ps 32:1-2; Ps 41:1; Ps 84:12; Ps 112:1; Ps 119:1-2; Ps 128:1; Ps 146:5; Prov 8:32; Isa 30:18; Luke 6:20-26; Luke 11:28; John 20:29; Rom 4:6-9; Jas 1:12; Rev 19:9; Rev 22:14; ** the poor. Matt 11:25; Matt 18:1-3; Lev 26:41-42; Deut 8:2; 2Chr 7:14; 2Chr 33:12, 19, 23; 2Chr 34:27; Job 42:6; Ps 34:18; Ps 51:17; Prov 16:19; Prov 29:23; Isa 57:15; Isa 61:1; Isa 66:2; Jer 31:18-20; Dan 5:21-22; Mic 6:8; Luke 4:18; Luke 6:20; Luke 18:14; Jas 1:10; Jas 4:9-10; ** for. Matt 3:2; Matt 8:11; Mark 10:14; Jas 2:5;


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