Jesus began the greatest sermon ever preached with 141 words that turned the world upside-down: the Beatitudes.
We prayed through ’em yesterday. Today we’ll start digging a little deeper.
What exactly is a Beatitude?
Beatitude comes from the Latin word beatus, which means “blessed.” Basically, the Beatitudes are statements of blessing, sort of like: Congrats you who are _____, for you are ______.
They represent a radical, mind-blowing, counter-cultural shift in thought that continues to reverberate through the world today.
They’re not a “to-do” list to earn your way into heaven or a list of unattainable lofty ideals. They’re 8 essential aspects of Christian character and the blessings – the unearned free gifts – that flow through those who live ‘em out.
The world says: Get rich.
Jesus says: Blessed are the poor in spirit.
That’s quite a contrast.
What exactly does it mean to be “poor in spirit”?
Basically, you’re ready to put up the spiritual foreclosure sign. You recognize that you’re spiritually bankrupt. You’ve hit spiritual rock bottom.
John Calvin said: “He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit.”
We should be like the tax collector who pounded his chest and cried, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)
Jesus has some rather direct words for those who don’t see their spiritual need. Here’s what he said to some “lukewarm” Christians after telling them “I am about to spit you out of my mouth”:
You say “I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
It all starts here. We need to recognize that we’re pathetically poor in spirit without Jesus. And then the blessings start flowing.
So, meditate on this today:
are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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