The opening of the Sermon on the Mount is, in my opinion (and I know everything about everything, just ask my wife), is the grandest portion of Scripture recorded. They are called the Beatitudes, which define the inward life attitudes of a true Kingdom dweller!
There are eight, or some say nine, small statements, which outline the very essence of this heavenly culture that Jesus first demonstrated, and then described. I believe that everything else in the Sermon is merely practical application of these eight inward attitudes and values. It is very interesting to note that they are in no way meant as commandments, but are far more like descriptions of the transformed man, the man who lives in righteousness!
Each of the statements has three parts:
- They each begin with the word, ‘blessed.’ Blessed means to be happy, to be envied, someone whom others look at and say, “Wow, I wish that was me!”
- Then the inward heart attitude or life value is stated in a very short description.
- At the end of each, is a promise that will be granted if the attitude or value is received and then cultivated.
Jesus’ primary audience appears to be those men and women whom had chosen to give their life as His follower. Matt 5:1-2 states, that as He saw the multitude, He went up on the mountain with His disciples. They are the ones He is primarily addressing, although it is abundantly evident that the entire crowd heard and interacted with Him throughout the talk.
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This is the beginning place in His Kingdom. This is the place where everything starts! But what an odd way to raise up an army of followers. What an interesting starting place: “If you want to have My Kingdom, be absolutely poor!”
To be poor is to have nothing, to be broke, bankrupt. When someone is poor, they lack the necessary resources to meet their basic needs and definitely the resources to help or meet the needs of others. Other words for poor are: destitute, impoverished, low, needy, penniless, poverty-stricken, down-and-out, empty handed, flat-broke!
What could He possibly mean?
To be poor in spirit is to come to the realization that you have nothing in yourself, even in your most valiant efforts. It is the attitude of the man who has come to the end of himself and all of his own soulish resources. He is destitute, needy, spiritually penniless, empty handed and flat broke. And if we come to this deep, inner awareness and do not quit, it leads us on to utter dependence and reliance upon Christ Himself. In essence, Jesus is saying, “Blessed is the man who has tried and tried and tried and finally come to the end of HIS own trying and found Me, the source of all things! Blessed is the man who has entered the life of absolute dependence and reliance upon Me for . . .”
The Promise? All of the Kingdom of God is at this man’s fingertips – Now! He has become one in whom the Kingdom can truly come and with whom all of My riches can be given over to.
Can you imagine the shock on Jesus first follower’s faces when he declared this was the beginning point of all true entering into Kingdom reality? This is the very opposite spirit of the world! The world of then and today says, “Blessed is the man who is strong, who has it all together, who can make things happen through his wits, his strength, or his will power. He’s the one who’s rich and always wins.” Not so in the realm of His domain. In His world, everything begins with emptiness and brokenness leading to a complete dependence upon the Lord Himself to become our strength, our joy and our source of life.
This is the beginning place of everything in the Kingdom of God. This is the foundation of heaven’s culture. Each of the succeeding attitudes and values flow only out of this first heart attitude. To cultivate this is to gain all of heaven. To miss this is to miss all of heaven (experienced on this side of the eternal divide).
Stay tuned for more to come! See you soon.