Jesus preaches good news or the gospel to the poor. “Poor” means poor not only materially, but in spirit, i.e., “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Mat 5:3). Isaiah speaks further about the poor in spirit:
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.” Isa 66:2
Yes, the same word. In Hebrew it means, a humble, lowly, and contrite heart; an afflicted or downcast mind, which prefers to bear injuries suffered rather than to retaliate in kind. The one who is poor in spirit sees and knows his shortcomings and inadequacies, and is grieved by them. His weaknesses afflict his soul; he trembles at the word of the LORD, because in it he recognizes that he has fallen short; and he is aware of his need for a Savior.
Jesus preached good news to the poor in spirit, for the good news that Isaiah prophesied, is that God Himself will clothe them with the garments of salvation and cover them with the robe of righteousness (Isa61:10). Salvation and righteousness that they have not earned by their works will be imputed to them.
Why to them, the poor in spirit, and not to the proud in spirit? The proud in spirit also have not earned salvation and righteousness by their works. I believe the difference is that the poor in spirit cast their faith and trust upon the LORD and not themselves, because they know they have not measured up. The proud in spirit, even when they say they trust in the LORD, well, believe that they have somehow measured up and are proud of the fact. The one who is trusting in himself and his own works, cannot receive salvation and righteousness as a free gift of grace.
In fact, for each of these classes of people, the Hebrew conveys the meaning of both the physical and spiritual aspect: physical poverty and spiritual poverty; the broken and crushed of heart (the inner heart of man), as well as the broken heart, the muscle that pumps blood through the body; the captive in physical chains as well as the captive and slave of sin.
Jesus is the Anointed One who imputes salvation and righteousness to those who cannot earn it for themselves. He heals broken hearts so that they aren’t broken anymore. He opens prison doors and sets the captives free. This deliverance and ministry is available to us, today, for this Scripture was fulfilled.
Also, there is an acceptable year of the LORD that is coming; a Jubilee year, a year of canceling debts and releasing slaves and restoring lost inheritances. This Scripture was fulfilled, and will be fulfilled in its entirety with the return of Messiah Yeshua. Every 50 years Israel celebrated a Jubilee. It is my belief that Jesus was crucified in a Jubilee year, so that this prophecy was fulfilled in part, and also, that He is returning in a Jubilee year, so that this prophecy will be fulfilled in whole.
The LORD told Noah a long time ago, when men still had 900 year lifespans in order to practice wickedness continually, that His Spirit would not strive with man forever, but his days shall be 120 years (Gen 6:3). One hundred and twenty Jubilees is 6000 years – then the reign and dominion of man will be finished on the earth, and the 1000 year reign of Messiah will come, giving us rest from labor, sin, and wickedness! If one believes the history recorded in the Bible, it was 4000 years from the creation of Adam to the coming of Messiah Yeshua, and 2000 years since His coming to today. Look up, beloved, for our redemption draweth nigh!
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!