These words are from Jesus as he teaches the disciples who climbed up the mountainside with him. Followers of Jesus, soaking in the message he shares with them who might have questioned what he meant by poor in spirit. We’re not talking financially poor.
Jesus had been performing miracles in the days before. Making the blind to see, the crippled to walk, and the deceased to be healed. These people were witnesses to what Jesus was able to do in transforming their lives.
This is the first of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It’s not an accident that it is first. It’s not about blessedness that Christians will enter. It’s about a blessedness they already have.
The Beatitudes are not hopes…they are exclamations of what is. Qualities that characterize what a Christian looks like. Poor in spirit is brokenness to be rescued and restored.
When we think of poor, it usually brings to mind someone in a state of complete poverty. But spiritually it means to humbly bow our hearts to God. We must submit to our dependence on him, realizing that we are nothing without him.
There’s a place inside us that only God can fill. But if we think everything we’ve gained on earth is of our own doing, we don’t think we need God. “Look what I’ve done on my own!” It’s impossible to grow in Christ when we have this mindset.
The Holy Spirit works in our lives to help create this realization. We can help it grow when we focus on the Lord; when we humble ourselves before him so that he can pour into us.
When we look at Jesus Christ who could have boasted equality with God, and see him totally submit to the point of death on a cross, we can begin to see what brokenness looks like. Coming to the point of emptiness prepares us to receive what Jesus has done for us.
The emptiness, brokenness leads us to cry out to the Father that we’re not good enough to receive his mercy, but in submission to him, he provides it anyway. And this leads to being blessed.
This blog post is in response to the sermon of Jon Porter. If you would like to listen to Jon’s sermon, follow this link. I can’t possibly deliver on paper the message you’ll get by listening. I provide the blog post simply to encourage others and provide a way to create thought about the sermon.
In Faith, Pam
2 Replies to “Broken, Empty, Blessed”
I love the beatitudes. There’s more than one Greek word for “poor”, and I’ve read that the one used here is when you’re so poor that you’re reduced to begging. Complete dependency on God.
Another aspect of Jesus’ preaching is that there is a hopeful message for the needy, but also a challenge to the arrogant. Those in His audience who thought they had the kingdom of God did not consider themselves “poor in spirit”. They were the ones who looked down on the beggars.