Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ⁴Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. ⁵Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ⁶Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. —Matthew 5:3-6
In this passage we see Jesus teaching a massive crowd for the first time. He opens with the blessings for, and characteristics of, those He’s calling to be part of His Kingdom. These seemingly simple statements contain profound truths of how believers in Jesus should be, and each characteristic has a corresponding blessing. Many books have mined the depths of each of these, but here we will focus on some solid truths and promises.
The poor in spirit are those who realize they are needy and unable to do anything on their own apart from God. They understand their poverty of spirit, their deadness in sin, and their need for a Savior. They rely on Christ for salvation, for their identity and calling in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-3), and for their place in His Kingdom here on earth. The promise for them is that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What a wonderful promise of both their home in heaven, the place where Jesus said He would prepare a place for them (John 14:1-2), and also of their role even now in His Kingdom on earth.
Those who mourn are not only those who grieve the losses and trials of this life (which are significant), but also those who mourn their own sin and the sin in the world. The promise for them is that they shall be comforted. Even though Jesus was and is sinless, He understands the losses and difficulties we face in this sin-cursed world because He Himself experienced humanity (Hebrews 4:14-16). He comforts us greatly by His presence and help now (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 62:8, Revelation 21:4), and in the future. Ultimately, Jesus will bring sin’s curse to an end (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
The meek are those who are humble, not self-reliant but reliant on God. They are those who seek Him (Zephaniah 2:3). Jesus is our example of meekness (Philippians 2:3-8). The meek are promised that they shall inherit the earth. Jesus has plans and an inheritance for His followers, for those who follow His example and obey His words (Revelation 21:7).
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who earnestly seek the Lord (Psalm 105:4; Isaiah 55:6-7). Coming to Jesus by faith demonstrates their hunger for God (John 6:35). The promised blessing for these hungry ones is that they shall be satisfied. What satisfies them most is His presence (John 7:37-39).
Jesus’ words in the next chapter are relevant here: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). As we seek Christ’s kingdom and seek to be like Him, we will receive these glorious promises.
Do you realize your need for the Savior because of your sin? Read Ten Essential Gospel Truths to learn more.
Do you see poverty in spirit, mourning over sin, meekness, and hunger for righteousness in your life? How might you seek to be more like Jesus in these characteristics this week?
What will you put into practice this week to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness? Consider daily Bible reading, praying, and studying together with other believers.
Lori Myers is a customer care specialist at Truth78 and loves serving in her local church. She has been using the Fighter Verses memory program since 2004, growing deeper in God's Word through daily practice. She is blessed to have two amazing daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and five adorable grandchildren.