I confess I struggled with the message this week and am not sure I did justice to this verse. I still am pondering what the message is here and to whom it is spoken. The scripture says that Jesus saw the crowds, went up the mountain followed by his disciples, began to speak, and taught them..." Who's the "them" here? The crowds or the disciples? I assume he's talking to the crowds and speaking here to all listeners, not just the disciples.
And what does he mean by "the poor in spirit." I mention in the sermon that the Greek word used for "poor" indicates the really poor - the wretched, the beggar, the one without resources who depends on others to exist. I get that economically speaking, but what does it mean spiritually? Is Jesus blessing those unfortunate ones who find themselves in this difficult spiritual condition, saying that they are not excluded from God's kingdom, or is he saying that all his followers should become poor in spirit to receive God's blessing? The conclusion I reached in the sermon is that it is to those who are most in touch with their dependence on God who will be receptive to what God has to give.
My study Bible says this about poor is spirit: "those who feel a deep sense of spiritual poverty," and it points to Isaiah 66:2, which says, "But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who tremble at my word."
Is this good news for the rejected ones who feel excluded from God's blessing, or for those of us who are feeling spiritually content & self-sufficient, and feeling little need for God? What do you think?