–from Blackaby.net, August 19th, 2013
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The Bible presents many paradoxes that challenge our human way of thinking. We think of the poor as possessing very little, yet Jesus said the riches of heaven belong to the poor in spirit. Self-reliance robs us of God’s good gifts.
Jesus insisted that in order to follow Him we must deny self. As long as we rely on our own resources, we will never place our trust in Him. As we acknowledge the poverty of our souls, we realize how desperately we need a Savior. Jesus declared: “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17). God has so much to give the one who recognizes his need and will call upon Jesus!
Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. He had just encountered the rich ruler, who valued his possessions so much that he could not give them up to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18-24). Jesus later encountered Zaccheus, a wealthy, notorious sinner (Luke 19:1-10). Despite Zaccheus’s material wealth, he recognized his spiritual poverty and found salvation. Jesus taught the disciples that true wealth is found in a relationship with God. Those who realize their inherent spiritual poverty apart from God will trust in Him, and He will enrich their lives immeasurably. Do not allow your resources, wisdom, talent, or abilities to prevent you from trusting the Person who can bring you abundant life.
Luke 19:1-10 | Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House
Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him,[a] and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:5 NU-Text omits and saw him.