Matthew 5:3; Luke 18:9-14; Various
Matthew 5:3; Luke 18:9-14; Various
Good evening and welcome to BCCC and our nightly devotional study.
Jesus opens what we call The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 by giving a blessing on people. A blessing means to look to call for God’s favor and protection on someone. It is a spiritual joy that comes from God. Jesus starts with the poor in spirit.
Matthew 5:3 - “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The biblical definition of happiness, or blessedness, is different than our culture’s definition. Greg Laurie says that If we were to rewrite the Beatitudes for the 21st century sound something like this:
Blessed are the beautiful, for they shall be admired.
Blessed are the wealthy, for they have it all.
Blessed are the popular, for they shall be loved.
Blessed are the famous, for they shall be followed.
Jesus didn’t bless the beautiful people, the wealthy, the famous, or the popular. He blesses the poor in spirit. He’s not blessing those who are without money or resources. He is basically saying blessed are those who are spiritually destitute.
So what does that really mean? The original Greek word for poor is πτωχός -ptóchos (pto-khos’). It literally means to crouch, to shrink, or one who cowers. Beggars in Jesus day felt as if they were unworthy so they looked down or shrink back when the rich walk by. A person who is destitute and completely dependent on others for help is humbled by their experience. Spiritually poor people realize that their tank is on empty…they don’t feel the worthy of being around those who present themselves as righteous.
Many people think that righteousness is achieved by doing great deeds of charity, being and dutiful member of the church, praying and reading the Bible. But our deeds don’t make us righteous. Jesus was speaking of those who esteem themselves as they really are before God: lost, hopeless, and helpless.
Apart from Jesus Christ, everyone is spiritually destitute—or poor in spirit—regardless of their education, wealth, accomplishments, or even religious knowledge. To be poor in spirit means to acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy, to acknowledge that you are in need of God.
Jesus illustrated this concept in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Lk 18:9-14)
C. H. Spurgeon said, “The way to rise into God is to sink in your own self.” If you want to be a happy person, a blessed person, then you have to see yourself for what you are: a sinner in need of a Savior.
When you realize who you are then you are ready to become a part of God’s kingdom.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Almighty God, Thank you for making us spiritually rich in your kingdom. It is not by our own righteousness that we come to you. It is by the righteousness of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us as the perfect sacrifice of God. It is by your power that he was raised from the dead. It is by your power that we are saved and have a place in your kingdom. We praise you for Jesus and we pray to you in his name. AMEN!
“Good night and God bless you.”