Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1
Jesus climbs up a mountain, sits down, and begins to teach what it really looks like to do life in the kingdom of Heaven. He begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What in the world does He mean?
Financial situation has little to do with being poor in spirit. It is an utter emptiness without God. It is a crater that can only be filled with God’s grace, mercy, love, goodness. It is an absence of any sense of control or ability to fix anything on our own.
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. All of the goodness available when we are emptied of ourselves and open to receive heaven. In that emptiness, that crater, that absence, God comes in and fills it overflowing.
Here is the hard part: Only in the emptying can there be filling. My pastor says he often prays of our congregation, “bless them or break them…whatever brings them to you.” More often the breakings are what bring us places we would never otherwise go. Places where we see God’s face more clearly.
We can’t muster up being poor in spirit and we can’t obtain in by watching others. Yes, we are moved, but we are not emptied. We are still clinging, if only slightly, to a thread of control and trying to make it on our own. All of the counter-intuitive verses about joy in trial and suffering make more sense. Only then are we emptied. Poor in spirit.
The only response is worship in humility and deep gratitude. A realization that something was done to us, in us, for us that we could never do on our own. We truly experience the kingdom of heaven – the rich abundance of a holy God – when we are emptied of us and filled with Him.
Questions: Why do you think this was the first “blessed” statement by Jesus in this Sermon? How do you see this truth as being foundational to all others?
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