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Verse 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. The word blessed means happy, referring to that which produces felicity, from whatever quarter it may come.

Poor in spirit. Luke says simply, blessed are THE poor. It has been disputed whether Christ meant the poor in reference to the things of this life, or the humble. The gospel is said to be preached to the poor, Lu 4:18; Mt 11:5. It was predicted that the Messiah should preach to the poor, Is 61:1. It is said that they have peculiar facilities for being saved, Mt 19:23; Lu 18:24. The state of such persons is therefore comparatively blessed, or happy. Riches produce care, anxiety, and dangers, and not the least is the danger of losing heaven by them. To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by the rich grace and mercy of God; to be willing to be where God places us, to bear what he lays on us, to go where he bids us, and to die when he commands; to be willing to be in his hands, and to feel that we deserve no favour from him. It is opposed to pride, and vanity, and ambition. Such are happy:

(1.) Because there is more real enjoyment in thinking of ourselves as we are, than in being filled with pride and vanity.

(2.) Because such Jesus chooses to bless, and on them he confers his favours here.

(3.) Because theirs will be the kingdom of heaven hereafter. It is remarkable that Jesus began his ministry in this manner, so unlike all others. Other teachers had taught that happiness was to be found in honour, or riches, or splendour, or sensual pleasure. Jesus overlooked all those things, and fixed his eye on the poor, and the humble, and said that happiness was to be found in the lowly vale of poverty, more than in the pomp and splendours of life.

Their's is the kingdom of heaven. That is, either they have peculiar facilities for entering the kingdom of heaven, and of becoming Christians here, or they shall enter heaven hereafter. Both these ideas are probably included. A state of poverty—a state where we are despised or unhonoured by men—is a state where men are most ready to seek the comforts of religion here, or a home in the heavens hereafter. See Barnes "Mt 2:2".


{w} "???????" Isa 57:15; 66:2 {x} "poor in spirit" Jas 2:5

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