Blessed Be Ye Poor

September 23, 2014

As Jesus’ ministry was really picking up, he had made and taught many disciples. But there came a day when he specifically and deliberately chose twelve out of his many disciples “that they should be with him” (Mark 3:14). These men were to follow Jesus day by day as apprentices, and learn through on-the-job training as Christ ministered to the multitudes. Here in Luke 6, God tells us how it happened:

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luke 6:12-21

Please take careful consideration of the emphasis Jesus placed on the choosing of the twelve. It was a decision that would impact history in a mighty way. Verse 12 says he spent “all night in prayer to God”. He clearly had more than twelve disciples present that day, because Luke 6:13 says “he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”. He had many to choose from, and could have chosen more or less than 12, but he decided to choose these specific twelve men.

For Christians who are truly serving the Lord, I take note of the great privilege to serve him. We have been chosen, hand picked by Christ to do his work. What an honor that he would look at Christians in his Churches throughout the world, and hand select each believer and assign them to a specific ministry.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
John 15:16

Notice in Luke 6:17-19, after he had chosen them, there was a great multitude of people, and he spent some time with them, and healed them all.

So many hundreds if not thousands of people were there, and yet, when he began to speak, look who he addressed:

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:20

He was talking to Christians, to his disciples. He wasn’t talking to the multitude, although they would have heard as well. But he was interested in teaching his disciples during this discourse. Why? Because unbelievers do not have the capacity to receive spiritual teachings.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14

I find it interesting that the first thing he teaches his disciples in Luke 6:20 is:

“Blessed be ye poor”

The word poor comes from the Greek word ptōchos (pronounced toe-khos) to crouch. This concept is confirmed by Matthew 5:3:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3

God loves poor people because “beggars” know that they have a need, and when believers have an understanding of how much we need God to be in every part of their lives, their personal lives, their Church lives, and in their ministry, the more they will understand and depend on him.

You see the rich generally have a problem:

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Revelation 3:17

Did you know that God was talking to a Church when he said this? Yes, to Christians.

So he tells us that it is a blessing to be poor. And he continues the thought by saying:

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luke 6:21

Let’s go back to Matthew 5:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:4-6

All of this implies humility, a soft spirit, one that understands how wretched he is, and is truly hungry for God and his righteousness. These are folks that weep and mourn for mercy and forgiveness.

Paul gives us an excellent example on how a believers should view themselves:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
I Timothy 1:12-15

Paul knew he was wretched and vile, and kept this in mind even as God tremendously blessed his ministry. God wants to use believers that are poor in spirit, humble, soft of heart, and know that they came from a life of sin and wickedness, and that Christ brought them out to use them to accomplish his wonderful will and plan.

Believer – are you keeping in mind where you came from?

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