Blessed Are The Destitute, For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven by Rocket Kirchner (repost)

Homeless woman with dogs

Image by Franco Folini via Flickr

by Rocket Kirchner
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
Originally published February 27, 2011
December 16, 2013

In Aristophanes play Plutus, the god of wealth Plutus declares to Poverty and Destitution that they are like two sisters. Right away Poverty makes it crystal clear that they are not the same. Poverty states that Destitution has nothing of its own “nor even a penny to posses”. Poverty goes on to state that at least the poor man works and that there is some manner of dignity, whereas Destitution has no dignity whatsoever. This mentality was very prevelant in the Maria Nostra culture of its time, and shows up time and time again all over in Ancient literature and history. The Greek word for poverty is translated penian, while the Greek word for destitution is ptocheias. When Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”, that word comes from the original Greek word ptocheias which means destitute. So Jesus is saying that all those without dignity, without anything, those who are completely destitute are not only blessed, but theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

This begs the question that living in the heart of the American Empire, are the beggars in the Empire amidst the oppression and mask of normalcy the only ones that are righteous enough to be the rightful heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? If so, then so much for the passing fads of political changes, because in the end the destitute and those who help them will be saved, and the rest damned. Maybe this is just one reason why Soren Kierkegaard said, “It is a fearful thing to be alone with the New Testament”. In the light of this one statement alone out of the mouth of Jesus, those who have been discarded as human junk through an abuse of power in a systematic and highly structured evil system, will be at the top of the heap, while those on the top, middle, and even poor, will be at the bottom. This is what is called the theology of inversion. And in Ancient times since the destitute were considered to be either cursed of God or the gods, not only does Jesus refute that hateful mentality, but by stating that they are blessed above all He is exposing the class structure in its theological/socioeconomic context.

This mentality and practice continues till today in so-called Christian America contrary to what Jesus taught. So how does this fare with our ideas of activism, activism itself, speaking truth to power, writing or commenting on articles that we think will change peoples thinking that could change the world? Are we part of the problem? Are we perpetuating the myth of actually doing something that is making impact if we ignore the absolute destitute among us? Are we like the phony Christians who turn away the destitute? Maybe if He just could have used the word poor, it would be a little easier on us all. But He did not. He used the word destitute, and Luke was writing to the Greeks. They knew what he meant.

Now we can rationalize away all we want to concerning this verse. We can come up with all the excuses in the world no matter what we believe. But as Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Why can’t the words of Jesus and our conscience just leave us the hell alone? Can we actually live with ourself with any semblance of dignity if we ignore this? No, I don’t think we can. But in a very ironic way, the destitute already have dignity, because they have glimpsed Heaven among a rather hellish existence, and because Christ himself has given to them His dignity by His loving sacrifice. We are invited to join in on that joyful sacrifice and reach out to the ones who have nothing, the most blessed of us all.

Suggested links:

Luke 14:12-14 – Passage Lookup – New International Version, ©2010 –

Pagans, Christianity, and Charity

Keith Green: Asleep In The Light (music video)

Keith Green: The Sheep and the Goats

The Destitution Trap


Exclusive: Peace 101: Will the Real Saint Francis Please Stand Up by Rocket Kirchner

A New Identity: The Gospel of Matthew

That You May Be Certain: The Gospel of Luke

Larry Norman: Feed The Poor



19 thoughts on “Blessed Are The Destitute, For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven by Rocket Kirchner (repost)

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  5. In classical Greek the word penes does signify the working poor who own little or no property; and ptochos signifies the beggar who is totally dependent on others, i.e., the destitute. But the New Testament only uses penes once, in 2 Cor. 9:9 (and the related word penichros once in Lk. 21:2, for the poor widow). So the word ptochos prevails in the N.T., and its use there is not restricted to its classical Greek meaning.
    For example, the penes in 2 Cor. 9:9 are the ones being helped, the poor receiving from God. And 2 Cor 8-9 is about Paul’s collection among Gentile churches for the poor saints in Jerusalem. 8:1-3 begins this section by referring to the churches of Macedonia, who despite their extreme poverty (ptocheia) gave beyond their means and gave generously to this gracious work (the collection). So the one use of penes in the N.T. has them as the ones receiving help from some who are ptochos.
    Thus Lk. 6:20 is not about just the destitute; likewise Jesus is addressing this specifically to his disciples. It is the ptochos among his disciples who are the blessed.
    All of this still is a great challenge for American Christians. For Jesus calls his disciples to give so generously to the poor that it leads them to a downward mobility of becoming more like the poor and among the poor.

    • yes …yes ..yes . and so true .. he was addressing this to his disciples. interesting to note a few hings here . first one is that ”he fixed his gaze upon them ”…before he pronounced them blessed . this term ”gaze ”, Pope Francis uses a lot in his first encyclical ”Lumen Fedei”. in a number o various contexts .

      also , let us not forget that Diogenes the Cynic sends his disciples out with staff , wallet , etc.. ( self sufficiency) as juxtaposed to the Lukan account of being sent out with nothing …in order o break the addiction of self sufficiency) so as to prepare them and those that took them in for the post Easter event of the actual coming of he Kingdom within in power by the Holy Spirit .

      this was surely setting the tone …of repentance ( to repent –change your way of thinking ) . this so needed dependency , is a great place to begin to mature the christian practitioner , and build a healthy co -dependency that thru and by the Holy Spirit builds real community without social programs . Also , i would like to add that if this is seen correctly can at least reconcile Paul and James in regards to action toward the least of the brethren , even if they got snagged on manners of the Law and Grace .

      your last point is well made –American Christians , o whom i am one .this is the proof positive in chapter and verse that must be obeyed as it corresponds with Matthew 25 –the sheep and he goats .

  6. the deeds you comment on in your note were not mine, but of others who gave to me, when I was sleeping on the streets. It was but me, the one sleeping under the bridge. And yes, the machine of many is fed far too much. But it won’t stop until there is a change of heart… where everything starts. I wish you peace. * bows*

  7. The problem with the nobility of the destitute, is they actually get something out of being in this condition, if those in power believe this to be a good solution to, aided by economic rationalism, the banking fraternity, exposing countries like Greece, to become a example of economic solution, by enforcing the many to undergo poverty and economic hardship, this being good for them, as the hardship will only further their spiritual reward,

    • don , i dont know exactly what you mean . i do know that Jesus turned their status right side up in the ancient world …since the mindset of both Jew and pagan was that they were cursed of God . not only does he say they are not , but he says that they are he most blessed . these words and his actions were very inflammatory !

      notice in Luke’s gospel it says ”he fixed his gaze on his disciples and said blessed are the poor , for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven ”. the reason he sent his disciples out with nothing was in order to build commonality and community from he ground up .

      • Lets face it Jesus was a subversive, its all very well for Him to say poverty is OK, as you know, He was teaching the scribes at 12 years of age, do you think he came from a impoverished family? no way, they had the riches of education, it may not directly translate as money but still has a relationship to money, the problem with Jesus, is He become a victim of the Jews fantasy, that is the Jews created a myth on the Messiah, as you know, sooner or later some one is going to front up as the Man, for the deed, the Jews knew they had created a myth, so they also knew He was not what he was supposed to be, other than he He took part of the story and said I am taking the story to all mankind, this is what fucked Him, the other alarming part of the story is to commune with God? as many would testify, giving up all possessions is not getting you closer to God, their are a couple of reasons why, one is you as in a human form, concludes that we are bound by the finite, as in dimensions of the corporal structure we inhabit, and God being infinite, creates a problem for us, also at the time of Jesus, I believe the human race would be about half a billion, or less, since we have now a vast amount more people on Earth, do you not think that a Messiah, should just by numbers as a stat, come up with other Messiahs, I would think the level of awareness today, taking in to account the overall experience of the Human race should produce a greater consciousness than that of Jesus? also bearing in mind at the time of Jesus, He would have had hashish, I would guess the LSD experience would be far more of a consciousness raising drug to the individual, than hash, with the proviso, that the individual could survive this ordeal.

        • don , i always find it fascinating when people talk about people that they dont know personally .they talk about others from hearsay. not a very reliable source. that is what you are doing when you speak about Jesus . i find no fault in that , but i also dont take what you have to say about him with any credibility , because he does not sound like the person i know .

          there are those who create a Jesus in their head . a projection of sorts .this is filled with all sorts of theory and concepts and constructs , mental machinations , neurosis ..etc……….. and there are those to whom he has broken into their lives and changed . the former is an illusion , he latter is reality .

          where i do agree with you is that the alarming part of the story of Christ is communion with God . it should be alarming ! it should sound strange to the ears. it should be confrontational ! why ? because it is a reversal of all expectations of what the Messiah should be . but it makes sense , because the thing that we need saving from is ourself . and only that deep communion with the Divine can cut the Gordian knot of the self that ..self that is he source of all tyranny . see my article on this blog ” ”The self is the source of all tyranny ”.

        • Thanks Rocket for your informed commentary, I have never been to Japan, their fore should I infer it doe’s not in existence? I am not sure how many Buddhists exist or Christians, but it is irrelevant to the meaning I am stating, presumable non of those who are living today have met J or B, the point I am making is it is by inference of what we are told as a narrative and also our life experience as to what construct we make of what is the past.
          I am not interested in your analysis of what you think I should think, I am taking the commentary I made ion Jesus as a existential profile of what it means to me, if this is useful to others that may work out that it has relevance to them, all well and good, I am not writing to convince you or any one I am right, what interests me is analytical, philosophy, as such this means I have no allegiance to any Guru, Teacher or any type of format suggesting I should be what ever any one thinks I should or not be.\What is more I disagree with Krishnamurti, Marx, and the present day system of what and who governs us, the list is formidable as to who I am aligned and nos aligned to this includes Socrates.
          Not only did I discover my father was a fraud, but also I have met many whom are supposed to be on the path, in some way or another, I estimate that 999, out of one thousand are either depraved or corrupt, or insane, or and unintelligent to have any serious dialogue with.
          More to the point over all, the indoctrination of the culture one is born in, is formidable.
          In your case Rocket, you have a problem within yourself, that is , you are right to be suspicious of yourself as being tyrannical, the question you have to confront yourself with is, what other than self exists?

        • don , i dont have to confront the question of what other than self exists , because it has confronted me . i was stripped of my whole notion that my self was the center of the universe when Christ confronted me 39 years ago and saved me .

          it is not for us to judge the Paradox of the God-Man , as Kierkegaard points out , for then we fall into an acoustical illusion . When Kierkegaard critiqued Feuerbach’s critique of the gospel of Christ , and called it anthropological projection , Kierkegaard inverted Feuerbach , and stated that because the Paradox cannot be judged , but only judges , ergo, Feuerbach was getting a slapback of an ”an acoustical illusion ”.

        • Don , this should be below what i just wrote . i have no problem with your notion of inference . i use it a lot myself .

          but in regards to the uniqueness of the Christ story , one stands in absolute relationship with the Absolute . in this case inference ends up coming up short as a sort of approximate almost . this is why i suggest to people that there just might be a way of going beyond inference in this regard and knowing Christ on a personal level .

          once there is a divine breakthru then we can concur with Mark Twain when he said ‘write about you know’…not what you speculate .

  8. His heart cries out
    alcohol makes it hurt more.
    Hast Thou forsaken me oh Lord-
    Why do I feel you not?
    As his heart breaks
    I watch… listen
    mine breaks too.

    Yes, it is me under a bridge on a cold rainy night. Your wheels rolling overhead lull me to sleep. Thankful the heavy load I carry isn’t within my heart. Light does it feel on the trek back to home base as dawn breaks.

    I see you there alongside the streets in your tiny ashrams. I don’t know your name- nothing about you. I look around me, within, and I know how very blessed I am. But I cannot contain it all inside and so… off I go handing out sandwiches and soups made with love, blankets and sleeping bags from above. As God has blessed me… He blesses you.
    * heart* * heart* * heart*

  9. Pushing carts and walkers from here to there. The young and old, short and tall, depression and poverty takes them all. From a heart that’s sick, come all the things you don’t want to see. Look at them, this is you… this is me, wanting to be loved behind the facade.
    Within a trailer, condo, car, or cave, one can find all kinds of turmoil, discontent, peace and happiness. Living on the streets is like that. Its not about where one lives… its what lives inside.
    Many people on medication, whether prescribed or not; alcohol prevalent. Anger spewing like spit, or simply hanging ones head down between one’s knees, is not so different from house to house, ashram to tent, for peace starts in my own heart.
    And as Jesus said, ‘ What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me’. The streets is where He’d live, and the light He’d be.

    • Sharon , thank you so much for your encouragement of words and deeds . our meeting place with Jesus is with the destitute and rejected , just like he was. we must help those who fall thru the cracks of a corporate cultured world that cast off these angels . they are truly blessed , and as Christ said ”woe to you who are rich”.

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