“Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Jesus
In this Beatitude Jesus declares that the poor in spirit already possess the kingdom. Many people at the time of Jesus used the phrase the kingdom of God to describe a Jewish state where God alone was King. In contrast, Jesus declared that the kingdom was already present in the poor in spirit (not among the Zealots). -Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes
I’m an idealist. Why it took me until now to realize this…well, that’s a good question. I easily see what could be, what I quickly think should be, and worry about why it isn’t yet.
If I was living in Jesus time, I think I might have been a Zealot. The perfection of the kingdom of God? Why, of course, God alone would be King! It is His kingdom, after all! Why would you settle for anything less than the ideal?
But Jesus didn’t share this idealism, or at least, He didn’t say “Blessed are the Zealots who demand their version of God’s kingdom.” He saw the ultimate ideal, the new heavens and the new earth, the rule of God bringing perfect shalom, wholeness, and peace to all of creation. But He also saw the upside-down, unexpected reality of the kingdom of God.
What would it look like to embrace God’s reality, His kingdom as it is presently? I’m not entirely sure. But I think it starts with poverty of spirit and exchanging my ideals for His truth.