POOR IN SPIRIT
Leslie M. John
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3)
There are two interpretations possible here in this verse. One is to be poor and free from worries of being robbed by anybody, to be free from any anxiety, and to be free from the dangers of losing life by the activities of criminals. The second interpretation, which is more acceptable, is to humble oneself in the presence of God and depend upon the Lord for all the needs, whether they be of temporal or Spiritual; more so of sinners, who depend on Lord Jesus Christ for their spiritual needs and to look earnestly to Him to grant salvation. Jesus says “Kingdom of heaven” belongs to all those who repent.
One should realize that we are all sinners and have no righteousness in ourselves. We can be saved only the grace of God and not by our merit or good works toward others. Salvation from sin and redemption from the bondage of slavery under sin is never by good works toward others. It is by grace through faith.
Real happiness is not being filled with pride and vain things of this life, but being humble in spirit and be willing to be obedient to Him to bear what the Lord lays on us. It is they who are obedient to the Lord whom the Lord choses and grants them the ‘Kingdom of heaven’.
Jews during the days of Jesus were ardently expecting their lost kingdom to be restored; and to such as those who were expecting their Messiah was to come to restore their kingdom, as prophesied in Daniel 9:25-27, their expectation would have come true if only they accepted Lord Jesus as their Messiah; instead, they along with Roman Government, crucified the Lord on false charges. The Lord was declared just and innocent. He was with without any blemish, without any guile in Him, and yet had to suffer the death to provide way for the salvation for mankind. God raised Him from the dead and He lives now, seated at the right hand of the Majesty.
Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the anointed Lord coming into this world in the likeness of man to preach the Gospel to the poor and broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives of sin, and recovering of sight to the blind and to set at liberty them that are bound. It was fulfilled when Lord Jesus Christ commenced His ministry with reading of the prophecy and applying it to Himself.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1)
Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry on this earth was to fulfill this prophecy of delivering those who are bound in sin. Ephesians 4:8-9 confirms it. Some ignoring this prophecy of the Lord Jesus’s ministry to deliver that are bound in sin, interpret Ephesians 4:8-9, as His going into the lower parts of the earth and delivering the souls of Old Testament saints from captivity.
“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Ephesians 4:8-9)
Lord Jesus Christ came into this world in the form of servant and in the likeness of man and became obedient unto death, even to suffer the death of the most humiliating death on the cross. However, He was victorious when He rose from the dead.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (Philippians 2:8-9)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18)