More Than Just a Healing Ministry
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
As Jesus ministered to the multitudes, the reasons for their turning to Him were obvious. Let us be reminded once again of the scene that Matthew described in an earlier chapter.
“Then His fame went throughout all Syria;
and they brought to Him all sick people
who were afflicted with various diseases and
torments, and those who were demon-possessed,
epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”
To these He preached “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). They needed much more than just physical healing. They needed to be fed with good spiritual food that would nourish and strengthen their souls! Surely this was what His Father wanted Him to do. How clear were the words of Isaiah concerning the ministry of the Messiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor…”
Thus it was absolutely right for Jesus to proclaim the famous opening words of The Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor”. God had the poor in mind when He sent forth His Messiah. God had not forgotten them at all! They would be given every opportunity to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom.
They had not only heard the Gospel from the gracious lips of the Messiah Himself, they had seen how tender and compassionate He was. Tenderly He cared for them! Lovingly He touched and healed them. Mercifully, He ushered them into the Kingdom of heaven. They were blessed indeed! Would they now be moved to become His disciples? There was every reason for them to become His true disciples!
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
How wonderful it was to hear the Gospel of salvation explained in such clear terms. What does it mean to really believe in God? Jesus assured them that they would be allowed entrance into the Kingdom of heaven! They could become citizens of the Kingdom of heaven! How glorious this promise must have sounded in the ears of the disciples!
Why did Jesus use this figure of speech to explain the Gospel? Surely, it was because He was fulfilling His role as King! Who else could speak with such authority unless He could open the gates of the Kingdom of heaven. Whereas John the Baptiser merely pointed the way to the Kingdom of heaven, the King Himself had come personally to welcome all who would enter in by faith.
THE POOR IN SPIRIT
What does it really mean to be poor in spirit? Let us take time to read this text from the book of Psalms. David expressed well what it means to be poor in spirit.
“Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.”
These were the opening words of a heartfelt cry to God. Though David was king of Israel, nevertheless he displayed a proper spirit of humility in his prayer.
“Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.”
The following things may be highlighted for easier comprehension:-
The poor in spirit will recognize the need to enter into the Presence of the Lord in abject humility.
There will be faith in the Lord that He cares and that He will hear and answer prayer!
The heart refuses to be so discouraged that it cannot pray. The faithful will cry out to God in “the voice of supplications”.
The petitioner places himself before God as His servant. He who speaks of trust in God cannot but desire to be His servant.
To all who are truly poor in spirit, as exemplified by the psalmist David, to them God gives a special blessing. They will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.