GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 2)
Jesus set out in this His first public discourse and teaching how to be happy and successful in life. This is happy in the deepest sense, not sastisfied from a good meal or a winning business or life event, but a settled, blessed, and what one author called superlatively blessed. This is fullness consistent with our design as God’s people and in a manner pleasing to Him.
To that end, Jesus begins by speaking not about consensus winners in a society, not the power brokers, but the poor.
Matthew 5:3-12 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1. Our Character: Cultivating our inner spirit. Jesus changes the focus of his audience. They are not to look to physical or external standing, of standing or status in their community. This is the exact opposite of a natural or human perspective. They are to look internally. The point: Our outward condition may seem enviable, but in the end it vanishes like a dream like a vapor. Remember our studies in James? James 4:1414Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. To the follower of Jesus, one needs to be convinced of their spiritual poverty. We are people in spiritual need. We are broken in our pride of self-sufficiency. We realize our helplessness without God. Luke 18:13 13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
2. The Reward or Result: For theirs is the Kingdom of God. This is the core of life. Salvation. Right standing with God our Creator. God as King and we are his subjects and followers. The apostle John, in the book of Revelation, catches this same emphasis: Revelation 2:9 9I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich! This is the contrite of spirit. In the original language, not a pauper but a beggar, one who is dependent on others for support. No wonder in the Old Testament there are careful instructions about providing for the gleaners, the ones who collect from the remainder in the fields.
Here is the point of this first beatitude – in God’s kingdom, the poor are called rich. Those in greatest need will find the greatest happiness or blessing. Buckle up! These beatitudes keep getting better and better, or might I say, more and more convicting! Blessing to you this week.
— John Moore