And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be you poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Let us see how Jesus by His example and word teaches the love of poverty, and wherein that poverty consists which He loves so tenderly.
I. His EXAMPLE. No one of us has chosen the circumstances of his birth. One is born in a poor hut, another in a magnificent palace. Our Saviour, being God as well as man, could have surrounded His human nature with a splendour surpassing human powers of conception. He who so clothes the lilies of the field that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed as one of them, could have clad His human body in a beauty far transcending that of all the lilies and flowers upon earth. He who created the precious stones and the glittering gold in the veins of the earth, and who gives the sun and the stars their splendour, could have built for Himself a palace, compared with which all palaces of men were mere hovels. But more than the beauty of flowers, more than the gorgeous glitter of diamonds and gold, more than the magnificence of palaces, more than the splendour of the sun, He loved poverty. He would be born as the bride of poverty, and the brother of the poor in spirit. In poverty came the Expected of nations into the world; in poverty He lived all His lifetime; in poverty He died on the cross. His whole life teaches us His love of poverty.
II. His WORD. As Jesus commenced His earthly life with poverty, so His first doctrine preached in His Sermon on the Mount was, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," thus intimating that, unless we be poor m spirit, we are not even able to understand His doctrine. He also pointed out to His disciples in the strongest terms the danger of worldly wealth.
III. THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN POVERTY. Now the question arises, Wherein does the poverty, without which we cannot be saved, properly consist?We distinguish four classes of men.
1. The first class comprises those who hart both riches and the love of them. These men are, in most cases, avaricious also. Men of this description are the farthest from Jesus Christ.
2. The second class comprises those who are enamoured with worldly goods, which, nevertheless, they do not possess; those who live in want, but vehemently, and with disquietude, long for the riches of which they are destitute. These men are in a worse condition than those who belong to the former class, for they have only the torment of an ungratified desire.
3. The third class comprises those who, although endowed with worldly wealth, preserve, nevertheless, poverty of spirit; who abound in temporal goods, but make good use of them, and are free from a lasting, vehement, and disquieting attachment to their possessions.
4. The fourth class comprises those who to temporal poverty unite poverty in spirit. Oh! that the poor would recognize how priceless a treasure is hidden in their poverty, if they be content with their condition, and joyfully embrace poverty for the sake of Christ. The world having neither joys nor consolations for those who are poor, doubly unhappy are they who forfeit the blessing belonging to poverty, by discontent and injustice. Christ repudiates them for their wickedness; the world for their poverty.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
WEB: He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.