Letter Twenty Four
Imagine you were one of the women followers of Jesus during his three-year ministry on earth. What would it be like as you heard his teachings, walked by his side, and watched his ministry?
I want to tell you about an amazing time of teaching that Jesus shared with us recently. It was the longest teaching time in one sitting that he has ever given us. It also was incredibly profound. We disciples are spending many hours discussing it. He began by telling us how we can be blessed by God. Of course, immediately he had us riveted. We all are seeking to find joy that is not dependent on our circumstances. As you know, the Roman soldiers and Roman law has been so tough on us that we hunger for even a day of happiness. Jesus’ first words in his sermon told us how we can find this peaceful bliss.
He began by saying “blessed are those who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In fact, he named ways that we can be blessed. Several of these blessings relate to our eternal destiny. We shall receive “the kingdom of heaven,” and “inherit the earth,” we “will see God,” and gain “a reward in heaven.”
I will do my best to unpack his teaching and share bit by bit with you after the disciples and I have time to process and pray over it. As I pondered the “poor in spirit,” I realized that Jesus is calling us to humbly acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy. Just as a beggar must plead for others to provide him food as he has none of his own, we must realize that we are sinners and have no merit of our own in which to earn acceptance from God. We must plead for mercy and forgiveness. He alone is our righteousness. Thus, poverty of spirit is a prerequisite to receiving the kingdom of heaven.
If a beggar were to wear fine clothes and hold up a money bag full of money and ask for more, no one would give. But when we see an empty bag and this man acknowledge his need for outside help, we reach out in mercy and give. Sister, we need the grace of God. There is nothing inherently within ourselves that makes us good enough to receive the kingdom of God.
Join me in humbling yourself before God and admitting your spiritual bankruptcy. Jesus says that when we do this, God will reward us. This humility is necessary to receive all the other blessings he offers us. As we humbly come before God, He will comfort us when we mourn. He will fill us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. We will be given mercy. We will receive eternal life and unending blessings in the kingdom of heaven.
Praise be to God,
your Big Sister
Today’s Bible Reading: Matthew 5:1-12; Luke 6:17-26, Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:22-23
Have you been striving in your own efforts to receive God’s mercy and acceptance? What He requires of us is a humble heart that acknowledges our sinful state and need for a Savior. As we cry out to Him for forgiveness, He bestows on us the free gift of eternal life. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This does not give us a license to sin. Rather, because of the mercy God gives us, we are to become servants of Christ. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:22-23). Humble yourself before God today and thank Him for His mercy, forgiveness, and gift of eternal life.