The Upside Down Kingdom Part 1
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by one of our team.
Norman Lazonby, a member of our board, has written this series of thoughts on the Beatitudes.
Jesus spent a lot of time proclaiming the Kingdom of God (or as Matthew puts it the Kingdom of Heaven). From what Jesus said it is clear that the Kingdom of God will not operate on the same principles as those in this world. Wealth, power and authority will be unimportant in God’s Kingdom. That is Good News for those who struggle in this world whether that is through illness, lack of confidence, war, injustice or poverty.
Jesus begins the Beatitudes by giving a great promise to the ‘poor in spirit’ that they will inherit the Kingdom (or it will belong to them).
But who are the ‘poor in spirit’ that Jesus is addressing?
In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes (Luke 6:20), the reference is just to the poor and they are contrasted with the rich (in Luke 6:24) who only have happiness now.
The Amplified Bible suggests that they are those devoid of spiritual arrogance or who regard themselves as insignificant.
Perhaps Jesus has in mind the image of those whose spirits are contrite and humble who live with the high and lofty God in Isaiah 57:15.
It is I think clear that Jesus is addressing those who put their trust in God (in contrast to the wealthy who put their trust in worldly possessions or the arrogant who trust in their own independence) or as the NLT puts it “realise their need for Him”.
God’s Kingdom belongs to those who accept the message of John the Baptist and Jesus to repent of their sins and return to God; in particular the ‘poor in spirit’ who renounce the worldly sin of pride.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to recognise that our ultimate security lies in you. Help us to see that putting trust in our own strength or wealth is foolish. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Help up us to draw close to you each day.
Question: What first made you realise the need for God in your life?