Reflections on “The Poor in Spirit”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

The sermon on the Mount describes what human life and human community

looks like when they come under the gracious rule of King Jesus… Still today

the indispensable condition of receiving the kingdom of God is to

acknowledge our spiritual poverty… Thus, to be ‘poor in spirit’ is to

acknowledge our spiritual poverty, indeed our spiritual bankruptcy, before

God… Right at the beginning of his sermon, Jesus contradicts all human

judgments and all nationalistic expectations of the kingdom of God. The

kingdom is given to the poor, not the rich; the feeble, not the mighty; to little

children humble enough to accept it, not to soldiers who boast that they can

obtain it by their own prowess.

– John Stott

We are beggars. This is true! – Martin Luther

The kingdom of God can only be received by empty hands. Jesus warns

against two things: Worldly self-sufficiency which leads you to trust yourself

and your own resources so that you don’t need God; and religious self-sufficiency

where you trust your religious attitude and moral life and don’t need Jesus.

– Michael Crosby

He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God,

is poor in spirit.

– John Calvin

Blessed are the spiritual zeros – the spiritually bankrupt, deprived and

deficient, the spiritual beggars, those without a wisp of religion – when the

kingdom of heaven comes upon them.

– Dallas Willard

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