You’ve heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” It’s both a profound and disturbing statement. It’s profound because it means, if we are not ready to learn, nobody can teach us. But when we are ready, we discover the teacher standing right before our eyes like an epiphany!
I heard someone say, “Nowadays, ignorance is a choice because we have a wealth of information at our fingertips on the Internet.” But I don’t think ignorance is a choice. I believe ignorance is just because we are not ready to receive it. We are like pigs showered with pearls that we are not ready to appreciate.
If we are not ready, even the Bible, or some parts of the Bible, reads like a boring book with puzzling words. For those who are ready, the Bible is the divine revelation. They are like newborn babies drinking their mother’s milk, feeling nutritious and satisfying.
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” What’s disturbing about this statement is that how to become ready. We don’t want to wait until 50, 60, or 100 years old to click. By then, the teacher may appear, but the time to enjoy it is gone.
We all know that Jesus is a great teacher, but only some people were ready to listen to him, and others, especially the Pharisees and Scribes, were not. The sad part is, not only did they refuse to listen to him but also silenced him by crucifying him. Unreadiness could harm not only ourselves but also the teacher. Jesus said,
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mt 7:6).
Sometimes, I wonder why Jesus did not listen to his own advice. He kept throwing pearls to pigs and was eventually torn to pieces by them. Of course, the obvious answer is that he cared more about those who were ready to listen than his own life.
None of us wants to be a pig that does not appreciate the pearls. We are showered with pearls every day, but we are not ready to receive them until we see the value. So, the question is, is there a way to become ready. Is there a way to raise our consciousness so that we are not blind to the teacher or the treasure?
The good news is, Jesus did teach us how to raise our consciousness and have a constant epiphany. It’s simple yet profound. Let’s explore it now.
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone—the Lightkeeper! You are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
Today, I want to focus on a single verse in the Bible, the very first verse Jesus spoke in his first sermon known as the Sermon on the Mount. It’s from the Gospel According to Matthew 5:3. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
[This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
Do you know that Jesus kicked off his teaching with a series of blessings—eight of them precisely? It shows that he did not come to condemn the world but to bless us, as John said, “from him, we received grace upon grace.” These blessings are known as the Beatitudes.
The problem is each of these verses might sound encrypted because it’s translated from ancient Greek. What does “the poor in spirit” mean? If it sounds Greek to you, it is. But it’s vital to decrypt it because it reveals the key to the kingdom.
This first blessing reveals the secret to heaven on earth. I call it heaven on earth because the kingdom of heaven is from eternity to eternity—from eternity past to eternity future. So, it includes the present moment—it is also available here and now. All you need is the consciousness of its presence.
So, I might say, “When the seeker is ready, heaven appears.” I am sure we all want this blessing of readiness to live in heaven on earth. So let’s decrypt it.
The word “poor” is translated from Greek “πτωχός (ptōkhós)” meaning “destitute (beyond Poor).” To translate it into “poor” is not a precise meaning of “πτωχός (ptōkhós)” because that word means they are more than poor. They must bag to survive.
The precise meaning of this word is “empty.” A poor person may not be empty. Some poor people may live in a rundown home, driving a worn-out car, and having a few dollars in their pocket, but that’s not equal to being destitute or empty. After researching the context of Jesus entire teaching, this verse would be better translated as,
I discovered that the translation in the Chinese Bible is more precise for this verse. It uses the word “empty” instead of “poor.” So, your spirit must be empty to receive the kingdom of God. It means a spirit free of worldly desires, anxieties, and burdens.
There is a story about a professor who wanted to gain wisdom. He heard about a sage living on top of a mountain. So, he traveled up to the hill and asked the sage to impart wisdom on him. They sat across each other at the tea table, and the sage asked him a few questions.
The professor kept bragging about his accomplishments, trying to prove himself as a humble man to become a student of the sage despite his achievements. Then the sage began to pour tea into the professor’s cup without saying anything.
When the cup was full, the sage did not stop but continued to pour, so the tea overflowed off the cup to the table. The professor was startled by what he saw, “Oh no, sir. Stop, stop, it’s full!” The sage said, “Yes, you are right. When the cup is full, it cannot be filled anymore.” Then the sage bid him goodbye.
Many people wrongly interpret this story as the professor is too arrogant to learn. What they miss is that arrogance is only a symptom, not the root problem. Arrogance is often a cover to hide low self-esteem. So, it indicates a deeper issue. A happy person is humble. We will talk more about it later.
In any case, this story provides an excellent analogy to the first blessing. “Blessed are the empty in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It means an empty cup is a ready spirit to enter heaven on earth.
The famous Nicodemus came to Jesus the same way, asking Jesus to direct him to the kingdom of God. But the fact that he chose to come at night in the dark shows he had something to hide. His cup was not empty. So, Jesus said he must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. He must become a child that had nothing to hide. Jesus often used infants and children to depict the empty spirit. He said,
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 18:3).
Children are not poor in spirit but empty in spirit. They are ready to receive the kingdom of heaven. As adults, our spirit is cluttered with all kinds of concerns. That’s why Jesus wants us to turn and become like children. Recently, God sent me a real-life example of the connection between child-likeness and the kingdom of heaven.
I came across a recent video clip of Akiane Kramarik. Some of you might remember her appearances years ago on many TV channels, including Oprah, as a prodigy of fine art. Since she was four years old, she started painting amazing pictures of angels, Jesus, Mary, people, animals, and other Christian themes, even though she grew up in an atheist family and no one had taught her about God.
Some of her paintings are now worth millions of dollars, and a portion of each sale goes to charity for disadvantaged children worldwide. It’s refreshing to see her again and find her still producing God-inspired paintings and poems. Anyone seeing her art would agree that they are works of angles, or at least beyond her age.
Akiane said that she received the visions for her paintings from God and that God guided her to paint those images. She was often surprised to see her own works. We might doubt her claim, but the proof is in the pudding. No one can deny that her work has a divine touch unless they are too blind to see it.
Jesus also used his work as evidence of his relationship with God. He said,
“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (Jn 10:37–38).
Like Jesus, Akiane’s journey was not smooth. Some Christians tried to tear her down, accusing her of blasphemy and fraud. Isn’t it a sad world? There seem to be Pharisee-like Christians at every time and place to tear down God’s servants.
She said she was so discouraged at one point that she almost gave up painting. Would it be a shame if she did? The world would have been cheated of a witness. Have you ever tried to do God’s work and got discouraged by negative people or by the devil who doesn’t want heaven revealed on earth.
When a reporter asked how she received the vision from God, she said that everyone could receive it if they believed in it and that she was conscious of God’s presence all the time. If everyone can receive God’s vision like her, why don’t we see more people like her? We all want God to speak to us, especially at times like this.
As I watched her interviews and documentaries, It confirmed that she embodies the pure emptiness and humility of a little child that Jesus described. She was full of humor, humility, and curiosity of a child. I hope she never grows out of it so that she will continue to produce divine artworks.
We know Jesus did not just teach us to be child-like, but he also personifies a child-like attitude, and that’s how he constantly connected with the Father and lived in heaven on earth at every moment when he was here. He offers to empty our cluttered spirit so that we can live in heaven on earth. He said,
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28–30).
Based on the original language, the phrase “humble in heart” carries a similar meaning to “empty in spirit.” The word “humble” is translated from Greek τᾰπεινός (tapeinós), meaning “lowly” and “flat.” That means not just “humble” but “flat humble,” “low to the ground,” or “down to earth.” So, it’s similar to “empty poor.”
That’s how Jesus lived in heaven on earth—through an empty spirit and flat-down humility. It is a child-like state. Just three verses above, Jesus said,
“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;” (Mat 11:25).
We can see a repeated theme in Jesus teaching the importance of becoming child-like because heaven is revealed only to infants, representing an empty spirit. If we want to see the presence of God, we need to ask, “What’s in my cup?”
Jesus invites “all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens.” Does that include you? It includes me. Now, let’s look at how Jesus offers to empty our cups by responding to three instructions he gave in this famous invitation.
1. Come to Me
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mat 11:28).
That is an invitation to empty our cups. What’s in your cup? What are you weary of, or what heavy burdens are you carrying? Our cups are full for three reasons—guilts or grudges from the past, worries about the future, and anxieties of the present.
Jesus invites you to come to him because he is the author of grace, giving his life to wash away your past guilts and filling you with grace to release your grudges. He is the author of life to secure your future, even for eternity. He is also the Emmanuel—God’s presence to guide you on the right path free of anxiety.
He says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” The word “rest” is translated from Greek “ἀνάπαυσις (anapausis),” meaning “refresh or reset.” So translating it as “rest” is not precise because rest and reset are pretty different. Rest sounds like taking a break, but reset is like a reboot. When you reboot your computer, you clear everything in its RAM (Random Access Memory). It empties your cup completely.
All your burdens from your past, present, and future are emptied by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. No one else can do that because no one has made the sacrifice that could provide the same outcome. Your cup is emptied by coming to him, making you ready to live in heaven on earth.
2. Take My Yoke Upon You
The next invitation is “Take my yoke upon you.” A yoke is an instrument to balance the burden. It’s like an invitation to replace what’s in your cup with his mission and be his partner. The kingdom of heaven is not a place but a path—a path that you don’t walk alone but with God’s presence. King David wrote,
“You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 16:11).
That’s why the translation of “I will give you rest” can be confusing because Jesus is not really giving you rest but a reset to take a new path. He leads you on the right path of life, where you feel the yoke is easy and the burden is light, full of joy and eternal pleasure—heaven on earth.
3. Learn from Me
The third invitation is,
“learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mat 11:29).
We see the word “rest” again here. The better translation is “reset.” You will be able to reset your soul and empty your cup by learning from his gentle and flat-down humble heart.
When the cup is empty of worldly burdens, we can refill it with God’s presence. King David wrote, “My cup overflows.” It’s not overflowing with worldly pressures but Godly pleasures.
That’s it for today, and I hope you can take your first step to heaven on earth by clearing your past, present, and future burdens, taking on his easy yoke, and learning his secret to resetting your soul to become constantly conscious of God’s presence.
Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound happiness.
Amen! And Happy New Year again!