Matthew 5:3,  blessed are the poor in spirit

5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

(Matt 5:3 WEB)

Theirs is the Kingdom

The poor in spirit are an interesting group. They are not simply the physically poor, even though such poverty may contribute to their being poor in spirit. Rather, they are those for whom the Hebrew Bible uses the term humble or lowly in spirit. 

The Kingdom of Heaven is the domain over which God is acknowledged as king. The poor in spirit, with their humble attitude to following the Way of Righteousness, are those who belong in such a kingdom and so are promised it.

When God sends a prophet, like John the Baptist, to restore the Way of Righteousness, then it is because those who hold power are quite the opposite of poor in spirit. They are puffed up with their own spirit and their arrogant advocacy of their own way has brought only calamity. Inflated with their own ego they have sought authority over others for their own self gratification. Like the male frigate bird, they have puffed themselves up in the pursuit of status.

Whether explicitly, through the words of a prophet, or implicitly, through the chaotic failure of their own ways, God can choose to chastise those who get above themselves. The results are often physical poverty, as in the well known parable of the prodigal son, or a profound sense of insecurity. However, as divine intervention acts to deflate an individuals pride and sense of independent self-confidence, God creates an opportunity. He presents the individual with a choice, harden their heart and continue going their own way or repent and accept that God’s way is best.  Hence, the Hebrew Bible links the humble and poor in spirit with the contrite.

Matt 5:3 in detail.