| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 52 - Page 85 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
With what surprise those around the Lord must have listened! To some in the crowd,
the statements must have come as a shock, for the Jews' conception of the Messiah was
one of a mighty conqueror who would free them from the Roman yoke and there is
nothing like that in this great address. The happiness described in these verses does not
come from human opinion, but rather from the condition ascribed to them in the estimate
of God. Matthew does not attempt to gather all the Beatitudes uttered by the Lord into
this sermon. He could have added "blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears,
for they hear" (13: 16); "Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me" (11: 6);
"Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (24: 46);
"Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it" (Luke 11: 28); "Blessed are
they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20: 29).
It was possible that the Lord Jesus, on the hill side, had the Psalms in mind, for they
give many instances of blessedness, the first commencing with "blessed is the man that
walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly".
"Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His
disciples came to Him, and he began to teach them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 1-3, N.I.V.).
The Greek says "the mountain", although we do not know which mountain it was. It
was evidently a prominent hill in the district from which the Lord found it more
convenient to give His address. In the manner of the rabbis, He sat down, as they did,
and taught His disciples. He commences to describe the character and conduct of those
who will be worthy to enter into His great kingdom of the heavens.
Who are the "poor in spirit"? It certainly does not mean spiritual poverty, but rather
those who have no confidence in themselves, or as Paul said later "no confidence in the
flesh", but every confidence in God that He is able to supply all they require. In other
words they are truly humble in mind, the very opposite of being self-sufficient and proud
as the Pharisees were. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican illustrates these two
classes well (Luke 18: 10-14). The Pharisee was full of himself and his good deeds,
full of pride. The Publican, on the other hand, made no attempt to exalt himself. He
could only describe himself as "the sinner" and depend on the mercy of the Lord. The
comment of the Lord Jesus was that he went down to his house "justified" rather than the
other and then He adds, "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted" (verse 14). This man was indeed "poor in spirit",
ready to enter the kingdom, if God willed, and be exalted by Him in that kingdom.
From this first Beatitude, we get the clear teaching that proud self-righteous people
will never enter into the Lord's kingdom. As we study each Beatitude, we get a picture
of the character of those in this future kingdom. In Luke's account, the words "in spirit"
are omitted and reads, "blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God"
(Luke 6: 20, N.I.V.). Luke may include therefore, those who are literally poor, but this
word goes wider to include the mind, for the literally poor are not necessarily "poor in