Our scripture this week is Matthew 5:1-12.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus begins this teaching with words of encouragement, telling the people they are blessed. This is a new way of reaching out, much different than the teachers of the law who focused on rules of behavior. Jesus speaks of what lies within a person rather than what they do.
Jesus knows that the people have lived for years with a mindset of “do this and don’t do that”. He knows that the law God gave them is important and He will teach them that as well, but right now He wants them to focus on what is in their hearts. Jesus will teach them that right behavior comes as a result of a right spirit, that true connection to God is one of seeking good rather than merely avoiding punishment for wrongdoing.
He tells them that they are blessed when they are like the poor who cry out for for help, humbling themselves before God and asking for His forgiveness. Only when we have this spirit of need, an acknowledgement that without God we are nothing, can we begin to change our hearts and lives to better connect with Him. May we also be blessed as the poor in spirit and be ready for the kingdom of God.
Gracious God, we come before You in our weakness, admitting the wrong we do. Help us to release our guilt through our faith in Christ that we may live as productive members of Your creation. Amen.