I have to admit that this verse and blog was challenging to write. It meant that I needed to take a deep look at my reflection in the mirror and ask some questions. It also meant that I gave permission for Jesus to do the same. His eyes of fire are penetrating and purifying (Rev. 1:14). My prayer for you this week is to experience the same. Let us continue to journey the journey.
“Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
As we continue to look at the Beatitudes, we need to constantly remember that these are spiritual qualities, character and conduct shaped within us by God’s Holy Spirit. They are a ‘package deal’ for every believer. The starting point is for us to ‘empty’ in order to be filled with God’s blessing. Like ‘Milo’ (last blog), we need to be dependent upon God for life itself. When we do, we can experience His Kingdom here and now.
Ok, now let’s talking about mourning! Let me say first and foremost that that Jesus is NOT talking about being grim, and cheerless in life. Jesus is not advocating for or encouraging this type of attitude within His followers. We do not need more sour grapes in The Kingdom. To ‘mourn’ (pantheo) means to lament loudly for the dead or a painful loss.
It is used in the OT to describe Abraham over Sarah’s death (Gen. 23:2); Jacob over the news that Joseph was lost (Gen. 37:34); Samuel over Saul’s disobedience (1 Samuel 15:35, 16:1); Ezra over the Israelite’s decisions to marry foreign women (Ezra 10:6); the Israelite’s over hearing the words of the law (Neh. 8:9); of ‘the land’ mourning over sin of Israel (God’s chosen) Jer. 23:10, Hos. 4:3, Joel 1:10, Zech 12:12.
In the NT is it used of Paul to express grieving over the sins of others (1 Cor. 5:2, 2 Cor. 12:21). I believe this is what Jesus had in mind.
Remember that the context of this ‘sermon’ is the present tense. Jesus is calling His followers to mourn presently about something. What is that ‘something’. I believe that Jesus calls His followers to mourn over one’s sins and the sins of the world. Why? It is because those sins have brought and continue to bring death into the world.
One of the reasons our family does not participate in Halloween is because of this very issue. To me, Halloween is a pagan festival that celebrate’s death. Instead of following the culture our family gives away free Hot Chocolate to those walking along the sidewalks. It’s one way to be salt and light for us as a family.
Jesus was known as a ‘Man of Sorrows’. There is no verse recorded to ever indicate that Jesus laughed. He did ‘rejoice’ in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21), but no writer records Jesus laughing. Now I do not think Jesus was a ‘downer’ or one of those people you avoid socially because they always something wrong with them. Not all all. What I am getting at is that Jesus modelled for us a continual state of ‘mourning’ over the sins of the world and those under its power. He wept over the effects of sin and death as well as the power that death held on the minds and hearts of God’s people (John 11:33-44). In fact, the reference to Jesus ‘rejoicing’ in The Holy Spirit above is linked to the reality of Satan’s fall and the powerful rise and reign God’s Messiah. That’s the good news, and here comes more. When we understand and begin to ‘mourn’ over our sinfulness and the sins of others we shall be comforted!
In this beatitude Jesus literally says that God will come to our side. The word ‘comforted’ is ‘parakaleo’. It literally means ‘to call to one’s side’. The form of this word is used elsewhere to describe the Holy Spirit Himself (paraklete). This means that God’s ‘comfort’ comes to us personally through our relationship with Him. God’s Holy Spirit is the Divine Agent and Comforter working in the world today. God’s presence is promised to you, and will come to you after mourning. When we mourn over our sinfulness, we will be comforted by Holy Spirit. He is the only one who can relieve your spiritual distress. Call to Him. He will answer you and bring His comforting presence.
In order to help us experience the blessing of The Kingdom Now, consider these three things: 1. See God as holy (Isaiah 6:5). The result for Isaiah was ‘Woe is me, I am undone … I have unclean lips … and I live among people with unclean lips.’ If you spend any amount of time around people, you know this to be true. However, Isaiah was speaking this about God’s people! Ouch. Isaiah personally mourned because he saw the holiness of God. Such a moment resulted in personal mourning. 2. See the nature of sin Psalm 51:3-4. Sin is an offense against God and His Holiness. Our sin goes vertical first. When we realize this, mourning is produced because we see the heavy toll of our sin. Old time preacher Charles Spurgeon once said that ‘if you can look on sin without sorrow then you have never looked at Christ’. Ouch x’s two. 3. Start repenting. Repenting is more than an emotional moment or recognizing the mess we are in. Repentance moves past the emotion moment to strategically take action and target the sin in your life. It means we intentionally decide to walk the other way. For instance, within your mind we can take thoughts captive before they bear fruition in action (2 Cor. 10:3-6). Taking these thoughts captive to Christ is the best spiritual warfare strategy you can apply. Put those ‘anti-Christ’ thoughts against the power of The Cross and the knowledge of God. IF they do not line up with His Character, Spirit and Truth, rebuke them walk away from them in your mind. When we do, we establish the mind of Christ within us and centre ourselves within His Truth (Eph. 6:10-18).
Following Christ in the 21st Century has its challenges just as it did for the writers in the Ancient World. Being salt and light is tough because it means that you stand out from the rest of the crowd and culture. I encourage you to spend some time with Jesus today and allow His pure and penetrating eyes to search you. Perhaps there are some things you need to make right with Him. Do it. Confess it. Mourn over that which separated you from His love. When you begin to do this expect to feel His Divine comfort tangibly. Holy Spirit is real and desires to bring God’s righteousness, peace and joy into your life. He is The Comforter. He has been poured out into the world to lead, guide, convict and empower your life. You can experience God’s presence in a personal, powerful way through His Holy Spirit.
As we continue to be a people who ‘mourn’, the result will be a people who are ‘comforted’ by Holy Sprit. God’s Holy Spirit brings this divine life in which we live, move and breathe (Acts 17:28). It is this Divine life of God living inside of us that illuminates and affects those around us. This is the good news of God’s Kingdom. This is what Jesus preached and demonstrated. You can experience His Kingdom now. You can also bring it to others. Joy to the world! Let earth receiver her King!