Blessed are the Poor in Spirit – The Sermon on the Mount

Written by admin on Jan 09, 2019 in - No Comments

Jesus opened his famous Sermon on the Mount by pronouncing God’s favor on the most unlikely of people, those who are spiritually bankrupt—the poor in spirit. Ian opens our new series on the Sermon on the Mount by inviting us to consider the countercultural good news of the beatitudes for the people in Jesus’s day and for us.

Sermon Discussion Questions

  • The words bless, blessing, and blessedpop up a lot in contemporary Christian culture. In what contexts do you hear or use them? How do you think most people mean them? What do you mean when you use these words?
  • Ian explained that the biblical word for “blessed” in the beatitudes (Makarios) means “God’s favor is upon you, God is with you, God is on your side.” Does this in any way change the way you read the beatitudes? What deeper meanings, if any, does this definition of the word “blessed” bring out in the beatitudes for you?
  • Reading Matthew 4:23–25 gives us context to the Sermon on the Mount and the beatitudes, helping us see to whom Jesus was speaking. Does knowing more about Jesus’s audience cause you to read the beatitudes differently? How might the beatitudes have fallen on their ears?
  • Ancient Hebrews wrote beatitudes before Jesus did: it’s a genre of literature. (See Ps. 1:3 & Ps. 119:1–2). Here are some beatitudes from non-biblical ancient Hebrew literature: “Blessed is the one who does not serve an inferior.” “Blessed is the one who is important so that when they speak, people listen.” “Blessed is the one who sees the downfall of his foes.” How are Jesus’s beatitudes different? In what ways are they countercultural? In your opinion, are they still countercultural? How so?
  • What comes to mind when you read the term, “poor in spirit” (vs. 3)? Dallas Willard calls the poor in spirit “the spiritually bankrupt, deprived, and deficient.” Have you ever been poor in spirit? Or perhaps you are currently experiencing poverty of spirit. What was/is it like?
  • Take a moment to prayerfully read the beatitudes aloud. Which one might God be pronouncing over you? In silence, receive the pronouncement of his favor on you and give thanks.