Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
The Lord Jesus went up to the mountain, and when He had sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3).
One who is poor in spirit is humble in his speech and actions. There was a Pharisee who prayed to God saying, “God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterous ... I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get” (Luke 18:9-12). In contrast, Paul, who was eloquent, a student of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of the Pharisees and a zealous servant of God, was extremely humble. He wrote, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider thacat I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and I straining it forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3:12-13).
And one who is humble will always accept the criticisms of others. Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil but at the same time he was self-righteous. So God reproached Job out of the whirlwinds, “Shall a fault-finder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it” (Job 40:1-2). Job finally confessed, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee?” and “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:1-6). Before this the spirit of Job was full but after this his spirit was empty. It was well that Job confessed before God of his self-righteousness. One who is humble is like a servant before his master, always lowly and helpless. He will not boast of his achievements but is ready to accept criticisms.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are poor in spirit. The Ethiopian eunuch was a minister of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her treasures. Though he was rich and in a high position, he was poor in spirit. He traveled across the wilderness to Jerusalem to worship God. On his way back he was reading the Book of Isaiah but he could not understand it. Philip, the evangelist, went up to him and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch replied humbly, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” He then invited Philip to go up his chariot. Philip preached the gospel to him. He was humble enough to receive the truth. On the same day both Philip and the eunuch went into the water and Philip baptized the eunuch. After his baptism, the eunuch continued on his homeward journey joyfully. The eunuch was rejoicing because he was confident that he could go to heaven for his sins were forgiven. This eunuch was poor in spirit and was willing to accept the teachings of God. So his sins were forgiven (Acts 8:25-40).
At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people and prayed constantly to God. Despite his high position and charitable deeds he was poor in spirit. When an angel of the Lord instructed him to invite Peter to his house, he quickly called two of his servants and a devout soldier to send for him, while he and his kinsmen and close friends waited. When Peter finally came, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. Because he was so humble that God blessed him and all those who heard the word with the Holy Spirit.
In order to enter the kingdom of God we must be humble because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5). The kingdom of heaven is yours if you are humble. So, let us all be humble..