The Beatitudes, the declarations that Jesus made in His Sermon on
the Mount, may seem like ideals that are difficult to live up to.
However, they provide guidelines and comfort to those who truly want
to live by the Lord’s ideals.
Chapter 5 of Matthew opens with the following description of where
the Sermon on the Mount was delivered (verses 1 and 2) and quotes Jesus’
first Beatitude (verse 3):
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when
he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of
~ King James Version
The New American Standard Bible version says:
1 And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and
after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2 And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
I think that “poor in spirit” describes those who are humble and do
not have an inflated opinion of their own importance. At a time when the
poor were looked down upon as lacking God’s favor; when wealth and power
were thought to be God’s blessings; and when the arrogance of the
leaders held sway, Jesus’ teachings were no doubt considered
controversial to the extreme. To say that the kingdom of heaven belongs
to those who are considered lowly and of no importance must have seemed
The people who are truly “poor in spirit” are those who have empathy
for others – both human and other animal – and who are not caught up in
one-upmanship. During their journey on this earth they become more aware
of what is of value in life – not the perishable and worldly, but the
imperishable and eternal that Jesus spoke of.
To be continued.