What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
This week, we’ll start the first section of our study from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.
1. If you were a parent or teacher children, which would you rather see—a change in attitude or a change in outward behavior?
Read Matthew 5:1-3
Many philosophers rank Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as some of the world’s greatest teachings. Yet, when you look carefully at what Jesus taught and the audience who first listened to His words, the content of the Sermon of the Mount would inflame a pious Jew intent on an outward, duty bound focus on the law. Jesus punches home the message that God cares most about our attitude toward Him.
Let’s take a look at the first of Jesus’ Be-Attitudes.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3
Look up this verse in different versions of the Bible. (Bible Gateway is a great resource for multiple translations.) The term, “poor in spirit” means someone who realizes their need for God and that they are incapable of reaching God on their own.
2. Why would Jesus promise the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit?
Jesus opens his sermon with a cultural contradition. The world says hard work reaps rewards. Jesus said His kingdom belongs to those who admit they aren’t good enough to make the mark.
3. How would a hard-working, law-abiding Old Testament Jew react to Jesus’ initial statement that those who admit they are spiritual failures will receive God’s kingdom? How would many people in today’s world react to this idea? Do you have trouble with this concept?
4. Why is an attitude of humility toward God important for a Christian to have?
5. Another way to say this is that He is God and we are not. How can recognition of who you are compared to God free you to have a deeper, more satisfying relationship with Him?
Each morning this week, before you get out of bed, pray a prayer along these lines:
“Lord, I cannot live this Christian life on my own strength. I need Your help. Go with me through this day and shine through me.
Was this Bible study helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section? Feel free to interact with any of the questions I give in the comments as well. Let’s make this Bible study a two-way street.
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