Your Attention Please!
Matthew 5:3- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
Most people have at least one thing in common, they want to be happy. Regardless of anything else most people desire true happiness in their lives. This is true in 2017 and it was true in AD 30. People want to be happy. Jesus burst on the scene in about 30 AD with the sermon on the mount. It was short, it was precise, it was direct and it talked about happiness. He said “Blessed are…..” and the word blessed in the Bible means happy. So Jesus began His first sermon with the topic of happiness.
Now before I go any farther it needs to be pointed out that He isn’t saying if you do these things you will earn the favor of God and find happiness there. No, He is saying once you have a relationship with God, you will find your happiness in these things and in these ways. True happiness comes from knowing God as your Father. In fact that is what His first statement is about. Blessed are the poor in Spirit? That is radically different than what you will hear in the world isn’t it? Poor? Happy? To be honest the two words do not seem to go together.
Happy are the poor in Spirit. What does that mean? Well the word poor that Jesus uses there is a word that means a beggar, someone who is desperate. Someone who is desperate in spirit, in this context. What does that mean? It means someone who realizes that they don’t have life figured out. Someone who is begging for help, someone who is begging for wisdom, someone who is begging for hope, someone who is in desperate need of forgiveness. Happy are those who realize that they are spiritual paupers and that they can do nothing on their own. Happy are those who realize they need God, those that realize they need Jesus. Happiness comes from our relationship with Him and from knowing that our sins are forgiven. Happiness comes from realizing you don’t have life figured out and you never will. That is counterintuitive isn’t it? It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it is absolutely 100% true. Happy are those that realize that they will never have life figured out but they know someone who does. Happy are those who have a relationship with Jesus.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” This is a plural statement. It is for people, plural more than one. Jesus is not only telling us how to be individually happy but He is also hinting at the beauty of community. The Beatitudes are for the church. He is painting a picture of what the church is supposed to be, we the church of Jesus Christ are poor in spirit. In other words we don’t have it all figured out. We can’t be prideful or arrogant because we are poor in spirit, we are sinners who are struggling. Sinners in need of a Savior, and thankfully Jesus is that Savior. He is the only one who could be. The church is a gathering of those who are poor in spirit.
The church is also a sending of those who are poor in spirit. We go out into the world with a message of hope, of love, of forgiveness and of redemption. We are sent as God’s ambassadors, but we are still poor in spirit, nothing without Him. That is why when we relate to the world we don’t relate as people who have it all together or who have it all figured out (we’ve done that for far too long, and if we are prideful we are in sin). We relate as people who desperately need hope, and help, and forgiveness. We are people who will always need Jesus, and that is why we reach out with His love. That is why Peter says to treat others and speak to others with “gentleness and respect.”
We are poor in spirit. We desperately need Jesus. We gather for worship as those who are poor in spirit, thankful for the grace of God. We go out as people who are poor in spirit to share the message of hope and love with the world, and we must do it with gentleness and respect. We live everyday as people who are poor in spirit, happy and joyful because we have been given (not earned) the promise of the Kingdom.