Why Are the Poor in Spirit Blessed? - THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT SERIES, PART 4

Jesus Christ’s teaching from “The Sermon on the Mount,” challenges His followers to meet the pain of the hurting people in this world with the love of God. This very first section has been named the “beatitudes” which we can think of as the “blessed attitudes.”

“Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:3-6

The first beatitude is in verse 3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

If you have personally made Jesus Christ your Savior, Lord and King, you are part of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are subjects of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We are submitted to him and no longer the ultimate rulers of our own lives. This is the first attitude we must have if we are going to be part of the solution to human need Christ wants to bring to the hurting people of this world through His disciples.

The words “poor in spirit” can also be translated as “broken in spirit.” That means this attitude is describing brokenness - which is something we see in the lives of those God calls and equips for doing His work. Jacob experienced brokenness when he wrestled all night with an angel in Genesis 32:24-32. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life and his name was changed from Jacob, meaning someone who did sneaky things to get their own way, to Israel, meaning someone ruled by God.

A popular paraphrase of this first beatitude Jesus taught reads: “You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” To be poor in spirit is to be humble. We show that we understand humility when we pray: “God, I am not the solution. I cannot even solve my own problems and I certainly cannot solve the problems of other people. But, I now know that You can! You are their Solution. If You are in me, and I am in relationship with You, then I have the potential for being a vehicle and a channel of Your solution and Your answer as I relate to people and their problems.”

This beatitude is a promise to you: if you humble yourself and become a follower of Jesus alone, you become a citizen of the wonderful Kingdom of God. It also means that from a place of love and humility, you will invite other people to enjoy the promise with you.

Please take a moment to pray, thanking God for leading, loving and caring for you. Ask Him to give you a humble spirit and to show you how to love others as you invite them into His Kingdom.


This post is adapted from a lesson of the Mini Bible College, an online study of the whole Bible. We highly recommend their audio resources and written materials, available in many languages, to anyone who wants a stronger understanding of the Bible.