How can poor people be blessed when they suffer so much?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: It has been said that the most uplifting sermon Jesus ever preached was the Sermon on the Mount. I do a lot of social work and it bothers me that Jesus said that poor people are blessed. How can that be when poor people around the world suffer so much? -- S.W.
A: When Jesus spoke to crowds He diagnosed their needs, healed them, fed them, prayed for them and gave them hope. When He delivered His Sermon on the Mount (known as the Beatitudes) He spoke to a specific group -- to the "poor."
Our culture today sees the "poor" as those who have little financial resources or material possessions. But Jesus said to the crowd: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted" (Luke 4:18).
This did not mean that His message was only for the financially poor, the socially poor, or the intellectually poor. It meant that it was for those who recognized their spiritual poverty. That was the first Beatitude. It was the dominant note upon which the remainder of the message was composed. Jesus was speaking to all people of all beliefs and of all ages and was revealing to them the secret of happiness.
Jesus also said, "You have the poor with you always" (Mark 14:7). The truth is, regardless of our cleverness, our achievements and our gadgets, we are spiritual paupers without God. There are famous and wealthy people who are "pitifully poor" in spirit. This is the very reason that the Gospel must always be proclaimed, because it reveals man's need and God's remedy. It shows us our sin and points us to the Savior.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)(c)2019 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.