For the next several weeks or months I am going to be taking a closer look at the meat behind what Jesus taught the people of his time and his disciples. Specifically, how we as His people should live and treat God, ourselves and other people. I have been saying that all believers need to get back to the basics of what Jesus and the disciples taught. Jesus intended His disciples to set the example on how to live a life of love to all people and creation.
This week’s Scripture is Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Let’s begin by looking at the state of the person Jesus is talking about, ‘the poor in spirit.’ This is the Greek word “ptōchos,”which carries the meaning of being reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms, destitute of wealth, influence, position, honor, helpless, powerless to accomplish an end, needy, to lacking in anything/everything. (My emphasis) Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says ptōchos means, “to be thoroughly frightened, to cower down or hide one’s self in fear, often involving the idea of roving around in wretchedness.” A few weeks ago I used this passage to explain the difference between being ‘needy’ and being ‘lonely,’ and said that there is something lacking that makes them feel deprived of the basic needs of joy. I also looked at the Hebrew word for ‘needy’ which adds meaning to what it means to be poor in spirit by adding the words feeble, oppressed, dried up, and failure. The Greek word used here is: “pneuma,” which means the breath of life, or soul. Edgar Cayce would call it the sentient part of an entity. It’s what makes us human, the vital principle by which the body is animated. Self. The people we are talking about are people who have been brought so low in self as to be totally lacking in hope and joy. We all know people like this; they are the ones who always have something seriously bad going on in their lives with no relief. They are the ones we so cruelly say, ‘suck the air out of a room.’ We avoid these people like they are contagious and may cause us to be despairing as well. So, what is it that Jesus promised these hurting people?
Jesus promises these precious, hurting ones the Kingdom of Heaven; or, the blessings of Heaven which are beyond what anyone can imagine here on earth – even when we try to visualize heaven we fall short of the reality of what it really is.
So, what is the lesson here for us? I believe Jesus said this to help us to cope with these tragically hurting people to be there to remind them that God has an infinite blessing for them that are beyond anything they can imagine. We need to remind them that life is short and their struggles are not going to be endless but that the blessings they will experience in Heaven are endless and full of hope and joy beyond imagination.