A Whole New Way

Matthew 5:1-3

1Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

As we dive back into our study of Matthew after a few weeks of holiday divergence, we are standing right in the heart of the message of Jesus as we read what has come to be known as The Sermon on the Mount." Recognize that the title is man made, not a part of the original text.

When Jesus begins His public ministry, He does so at a time when the world is in turmoil. The Romans have a firm (and punishing) grip on almost everything. The Jews are somewhat disorganized and being governed by sects rather than by the Torah. The Pharisees have risen up as the ruling class among the Jews and the faith that they practice does not resemble the Judaism of the Old Testament very clearly. Now the Son of God comes onto the scene and His message is radical. His message is almost revolutionary. His message is counter to what anyone would expect.

The Jews were looking for a Messiah. But they had defined Him in their own minds as someone who would free them from their Romans masters. They were looking for the world domination that had defined the reign of King David. God had another plan in mind.

Jesus opens the pages of His ministry with words that certainly do not fall into line with world domination. He begins to preach a message of submission and humility. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This is not what the Pharisees had in mind at all. "Poor in spirit" means that you are completely aware of your helplessness before a mighty God. "Poor in spirit" doesn't take over the world, but instead bows to serve. "Poor in spirit" recognizes the need for a Savior from the spiritual poverty that besets us all. Jesus has come to reshape our worldview in a whole new way. And the reward for that attitude? The kingdom of Heaven. It's totally worth it.