- The word “blessed” in Greek is “makarios” and means something like “happy”, “lucky” or “fortunate”. But to be “blessed” does not mean to be happy for a little while and then to be sad when something bad happens, but the happiness of which blessedness is the bearer is a happiness that stands above difficulties and that can rejoice in God regardless of circumstances.
- Notice that it says “blessed are you…”. The blessedness promised to a citizen of God’s kingdom is not something that lies in the future, but something that we already have access to here and now!
- We see in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3) that the poverty Jesus refers to is not necessarily a material poverty, but a spiritual one: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
- Even the materially rich can be poor in spirit.
- The Greek word for “poor” is “ptochos” and it doesn’t just mean that you have little money, but that you are completely destitute like a beggar on the street.
- To be destitute is to have nothing of your own and to be totally dependent on the generosity of others. In the same way, spiritual poverty means that one does not possess any spiritual power in oneself, but is totally dependent on God’s generosity.
- To be poor in spirit, then, is to realize that one is dependent on God and constantly comes to him to ask for his generous gifts.
- On the contrary, when we think that we are spiritually rich and do not need God, then we do not have access to the kingdom of God.
- But even though Jesus is talking about spiritual poverty here, it is worth adding that material wealth can be an obstacle to drawing closer to God. Not because money in itself is an obstacle, but because wealth creates a comfort that makes one not want to draw near to God or feel any need for God.
- He who hungers for God as a ravenous man hungers for food will do anything to be “satisfied”. Nor does the person who is not hungry make much effort to satisfy his hunger.
- God is not far away from us, the only thing that really prevents us from meeting God is our own comfort.
- Jesus’ analogy with food is very good because we are de facto dependent on regular food for our own survival and know immediately when we need to eat.
- In the same way, we should realize that we depend on meeting God regularly, hearing his Word, receiving intercession, etc. We should also live so close to God that we immediately notice when we have not “eaten” for a long time.
- Meeting a holy God also means recognizing one’s own sin. But those who genuinely weep over their own sin and repent of their mistakes will soon rejoice and laugh when they receive God’s forgiveness!
- It may be hard to understand why anyone would want to hate people who are poor, hungry and crying, but sadly it wasn’t long before early Christians suffered persecution for their beliefs.
- But even if we Christians have to suffer for our faith, we should be happy inside because we know that we will receive our reward in heaven.
- Jesus puts his disciples in the same ranks as the Old Testament prophets. God has always called people to follow him and proclaim his message, which has almost always led to persecution.
- Being rich, full and happy is normally a very positive thing, but Jesus turns this reasoning upside down. If you have everything you need but don’t belong to the kingdom of God, all your riches are just vain worldly pleasures.
- Whoever really wants to be rich, full and hungry should seek this from God, because it is only God who can offer this in depth.
- The person who is poor, hungry and weeping is much more blessed than the person who is rich, full and happy, because that person belongs to the kingdom of God.