Matthew 5:3 | “Poor In Spirit” means what it literally says: to be spiritually destitute, lacking what is needed, being without resource. For us to grapple with what is about to be taught to us by Jesus, we must grapple with this reality: those who offer NOTHING to God are BLESSED. And remember, the Greek word “makarios” which is translated as “blessed” does not mean “happy” or “doing well”; it means SAVED.
Dig Deeper: Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 11:2-6
Matthew 9:10-11 | “Pharisees” were the religious leaders who saw it as their objective to be “faithful” to God by keeping the LAW (the “Torah” which is the first five books of the Bible). For them, doing things right was the pathway to faith. When they asked why Jesus would EAT with tax collectors and “sinners” they were offended because in their culture eating with someone meant you were choosing to identify yourself with them.
Matthew 9:12-13 | Jesus, in this concrete example, demonstrates what he means by “poor in spirit”. He commands the Pharisees, those who taught the Scriptures, to “go and learn” Hosea 6:6 where God tells us He desires “CHESED” (a thing found in the heart—Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love—and not “the religious practices” by which they were claiming to be righteous). When Jesus says He came to call sinners, not the righteous, He’s saying that this is a matter of the heart!
Matthew 5:8 | Hold “poor in spirit” in tension with “pure in heart”! These are two sides of the same coin! They live in tension! Tensions of love and justice, rest and work, comfort and challenge, staying and going, receiving…and being poured out all CROSS...upon our hearts.