Luke 6:20 :
He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said,
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the Kingdom of God.
I don’t think that Jesus was talking about money here. The reason I don’t is because we have another witness to the things that Jesus would say. Matthew says that Jesus also said this:
Matthew 5:3 :
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
I do believe that these two speeches were two different events, based on the setting that the authors describe, however, I believe that Jesus was giving a consistent message. I also know that there were rich men who became disciples and some men who had little money who did not get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Obviously, Jesus isn’t talking about physical wealth here.
What Jesus is talking about is a “spirit” or attitude of wealth. Anyone, no matter how much money they have, can have a rich man’s attitude. By that, I mean an independent, self-reliant, self-righteous attitude. People like that can’t get into the Kingdom.
Jesus also said that we have to become like little children and that we have to give up everything else to follow Him. If we hold on to our own independence, self-reliance and self-righteousness, we can’t find the way to God. At some point, we must admit that we are spiritually poor and that we don’t have what it takes to get to God. We’re not even close. Until we realize we are spiritually destitute, we can’t get to Heaven. That’s a problem that many people who think they are Christians have.
I think that this is why Jesus and John preached the law to the people. The “old garment” was and is still quite useful. It shows us how poor we really are from God’s perspective. The law tells us not to lie, but we do. It says not to steal and we do that too. It’s difficult to find anyone who hasn’t broken all ten of the commandments.
A poor person is one who admits the fact that they have nothing to offer God. Once we get to this place of repentance, we are ready to see the way to the Kingdom that Jesus provides.