Matt. 5:3 ¶ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Can you even imagine what it must have been like to actually be at the Sermon on the Mount? The power and authority of His words were absolutely riveting. As the soldier said, “No one ever spoke like this man!” His words carried correction, healing, and guidance and were saturated with love. The greatest of all sermons began with this statement, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. This place of utter dependency on God is where everything starts. There is no revelation until we recognize just how needy we are. What are the results of being poor in spirit?; the kingdom of God begins to open up to you. It is like the wardrobe that leads to Narnia, it is the way into the supernatural realm of God. Here are some thoughts from McClaren on today’s verse.
“The foundation of all is laid in poverty of spirit. The word rendered ‘poor’ does not only signify one in a condition of want, but rather one who is aware of the condition, and seeks relief. If we may refer to Latin words here, it is mendicus rather than pauper, a beggar rather than a poor man, who is meant. So that to be poor in spirit is to be in inmost reality conscious of need, of emptiness, of dependence on God, of demerit; the true estimate of self, as blind, evil, weak, is intended; the characteristic tone of feeling pointed to is self-abnegation, like that of the publican smiting his breast, or that of the disease-weakened, hunger-tortured prodigal, or that of the once self-righteous Paul, ‘O wretched man that I am!…So this teaching is dead against the modern pagan doctrine of self-reliance, and really embodies the very principle for the supposed omission of which some folk like this Sermon; namely, that our proud self-confidence must be broken down before God can do any good with us, or we can enter His kingdom.”
Where man looks at independence and confidence as qualities necessary for success, Jesus points us in a different direction. He points to poverty of spirit that takes us to a different destination. Rather than being focused on success and prosperity in this world, Christ is pointing us to the kingdom of heaven. Pride and human effort can never go there, access is for those with a broken and contrite heart.