“Blessed are the poor in the spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” – Matthew 5:3
In a nutshell then, Jesus is trying to communicate to you that to be in poor in spirit is to acknowledge that you are spiritual bankrupt before His sight. There is nothing in you that calls out for acceptance. All of mankind has forsaken the one true God and turned over to idols made with human hands. It is the tax collector in Luke 18 who beats his breast and cries, “Have mercy on me a sinner!” It is the attitude of the Canaanite woman that cries to Jesus, “Yes but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table” in Matthew 15. It is the attitude of Isaiah as he falls before God’s throne and cries, “Woe is me… I am a man of unclean lips” in Isaiah 6:6. This is what gripped the hymnist, Augustus Toplady, to cry:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
We further see that this if you are what Jesus commands, you are rewarded with something. Now, this is also implied by the word blessed, which connotes the idea of being fortunate, favored or happy according to many Greek renderings of the word μακάριος (makarios). So, it begs the question, what is to gain if we are truly poor in spirit? What are we really being blessed with by humbling ourselves and acknowledge our status before God? Truly we shall see that it is ultimately for our benefit and joy to gladly submit our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not some ambiguous kingdom that Jesus is referring to in this passage. Nor is this guaranteeing that if you surrender your life to Christ you are promised riches and an earthly kingdom. For indeed we serve a great King, but who’s Kingdom is not of this world. You see, as Jesus was dangling upon that cross, bloody and broken, He was inaugurating His Kingdom to come. Jesus will return one day to reclaim His bride and consummate His Kingdom. One day our great King is going to rip open the sky and usher the Kingdom onto this earth. When the individual realizes they are poor in spirit and submit unto the Lord Jesus, they inherit something far greater from what they were clinging to – they get Jesus.
Does that mean that we are left waiting for our reward? Yes and no. We are waiting for Jesus to consummate His Kingdom here upon the earth but we can have the security that His Kingdom is already secure. We can trust that God is going to use your testimony to begin putting that plan in action. You receive the incredible blessing of God lavishing His unending grace upon you as you walk through this life. You inherit all of the blessings of Christ. The essential message of the Bible is not that you can get gain capital for yourselves but that you get the creator of that capital, Jesus.
Christian, if you are in Christ, you are a son or daughter of the King. You are an heir of the Kingdom that is coming. You will reap all the blessings that the King has. Let us never begin to mope and complain for we have a great reward waiting for us. Let us make it our aim to know Christ in this life in a deeper way day by day. May we cry out for our great King to finally consummate His Kingdom upon this earth. Let’s learn that the way to be rich is actually to be poor.