The First Couplet
“Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matthew 5:3-4)
Jesus gave this teaching to those who professed to be His disciples. They were with Him on the slopes around the Sea of Galilee while He was ministering to a vast multitude of sick people. Mark 3:13 & 14 tells us that by personal invitation Jesus invited these disciples to join Him at a higher level surrounding the Sea of Galilee, so that He might teach them how to be part of His solution and His answer to all those problems at the bottom of the mountain.
The first two attitudes He taught them were to be poor in spirit and to mourn. Poor in spirit means broken in spirit and mourning could at least be applied to the mourning we experience while we are learning that we are poor in spirit. I paraphrase these first two attitudes with the words “I can’t but He can.” One of the best ways He teaches us that we can’t is failure. We hate to fail. We loath failure. We are driven in many ways by the fear of failure. That’s why there is much mourning involved in learning these first two attitudes.
Another application could be that Jesus is teaching His disciples to look down the hill at all those hurting people. He is asking, “What makes you think you can be an answer of mine or a solution of mine to their problems if you never know what it is to mourn yourself or experience the broken spirit that confesses “I can’t but He can?”
Have you learned this yet, or are the experiences of your life vehicles of God through which He is trying to teach you these first two blessed attitudes?