by Tony Nester

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
Tony R. Nester
Matthew 5:5-6

Today we're beginning a sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount. It's in the
Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5 through 7. I encourage you to read it. Here we
have Jesus in his own words. His words aren't easy to take but they shine with
light of Heaven.

The Sermon on the Mount begins with a strange list of blessings. Jesus selects
eight kinds of people and blesses them. That's why the list is called "The
Beatitudes" — it's a name that means blessing and bliss. Here Jesus tells us
who is blessed by God and who will know the bliss of God's Kingdom.

I've divided the list in two. Today we look at the first four of the
Beatitudes. Let's begin.

(Matthew 5:3-6 NRSV) ""Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven. {4} "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
{5} "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. {6} "Blessed are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

The first beatitude is about poverty. "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

We've argued over and had learned debates about these words of Jesus. Do we
have to be economically poor in order to be poor in spirit? Why should we try
to eliminate poverty when being poor is a source of blessing? Is Jesus siding
with the poor against the rich? Is he making a political statement? Or is
Jesus saying that we should all strive to become poor in spirit even though we
may be rich in things?

I heard about a businessman who went to a monastery in Colorado for a spiritual
The prior led him to his room — a small, stripped down cell. The prior
instructed the man to spend time alone in his room and out in the meadows. The
man was to spend time alone in silence for a week, except for meal times. As
the prior left the man in his little room he gave one last word of instruction:
"If you need any ...

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