PLEASE NOTE: Moving forward we are moving to the NASB translation of the Bible. This will be the version we’ll be using in our studies. I’ll be referencing the McArthur Study Bible and notes from that version of the Bible amongst other trusted resources.
Matthew 5 recounts the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. It starts like this:
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
So…..let’s stop right there. This will be a long portion of these daily devotions but I think it’s worth it to stop and really take this almost verse by verse.
Just a quick side note, in many many instances throughout Scripture we see that “going up to a mountain” is a place to experience and meet with God. (Haven’t tried it? I suggest you head up to a mountain and breath. Experience God in this way.)
Before we even get to the verse, a few cool notes about the scene itself:
It sounds as if Jesus goes up the mountain, in part, to escape the crowd, and he addresses this sermon to his disciples. However, the crowd overhears and is “astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (This from Matthew 7:28-29 but definitely sets the scene here).
“when he had sat down, his disciples came to him” (v. 1b). Sitting is the traditional posture for rabbinical teaching. By taking his seat, Jesus signals that it is time for class to begin. Jesus’ disciples come to him, indicating their subordinate role.
“He opened his mouth and taught them” (v. 2). The deliberate quality of this introduction signals the importance of the message.
So before we even get to the beginning of the teaching, the scene has been set and “class is in session”. I love that.
So verse 3 states this: “Blesssed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Someone one asked Billy Graham what did Jesus mean by we ought to be poor in spirit and shouldn’t we strive to be rich in spirit? Graham brilliantly responded with the following:
“What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.
In other words, when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. The Bible says in James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
So as we start to dive into this Sermon. Pray for humbleness, pray for God’s Spirit in and around your day. In and around your reading of these short passages that we are studying each day. Be blessed today as you humble yourself today.