Monday, 17 January 2022
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 5:3
It is always a joyful experience to read and reflect on the Beatitudes! Jesus went up on the mountain to teach- hence the entire portion of Matthew 5-7 is known as “the Sermon on the Mount.” He shows us the way to life, the way that he himself had taken. Jesus himself is the way, and he proposes this way as the path to true happiness. Throughout his life, from his birth in the stable in Bethlehem until his death on the cross and his resurrection, Jesus embodied the Beatitudes. All the promises of God’s Kingdom were fulfilled in Him.
We are in a transition period here on earth and our eternal destination is heaven, to be with the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In proclaiming the Beatitudes, Jesus asks us to follow him along the path that alone leads to eternal life. It is not an easy journey, yet the Lord promises us his grace and he never abandons us. We face so many challenges in life: poverty, distress, humiliation, and the struggle for justice, persecutions, other difficulties of daily life, the effort to remain faithful to our call to holiness, and many others. But if we open the door to Jesus and allow him to be the centre of our lives, if we share our joys and sorrows with him, then we will experience the peace and joy that only God can give.
The master key to the kingdom of heaven is poverty of spirit. Without this, we will not be able to travel the path to eternity. When we are truly poor in spirit we acknowledge how weak and helpless we are without God and that we need His grace. We would come broken before God continually and the Word of God assures us that the Lord is near to the broken-hearted. We are to come to the throne of grace acknowledging and admitting our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. To those that come to the Lord in such a manner, He is near. If we are filled with spiritual pride or if we do think that we do not really need God in our lives, God cannot bless us nor can we inherit the kingdom of God. The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Remember: “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).
When we are truly poor in spirit we recognize our spiritual depravity apart from God— seeing ourselves as lost, hopeless, helpless. Apart from Jesus Christ every person is spiritually destitute, no matter what his education, wealth, social status, accomplishments, or religious knowledge. That is the theme of the first beatitude. The poor in spirit recognize their total dependence on God—there are no saving resources in themselves and they can only hope for mercy and grace. They know they have no merit of their own and can earn no spiritual reward. Their pride is gone, their self-assurance is gone, and they stand empty-handed before God acknowledging their desperate need for a Saviour.
There is hope for everyone who is poor in the spirit—through Jesus Christ. An attitude of our own unworthiness is a step to enter the kingdom of heaven. We have no righteousness of our own but need it from Christ who can give it: “…being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:24). They that come to Christ in their spiritual poverty are given a rich entry into His Kingdom through the gift of salvation!
Think on: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)