Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 5

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Read Matthew 5:1-12 (focusing on vs. 4) (ESV)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Have you ever mourned? Not just been sad at a loss but truly, deeply mourned? Ever been to a funeral of a friend or family member? When we lose one that we love we weep and cry and are filled with a sense of loss and longing to have them back, and this is right. I can remember attending a funeral where some of those in attendance were deeply wracked with sorrow, to the point of a grief so strong that they wept loudly and uncontrollably, waves of tear-filled sobs rolling down their bodies. As believers we are reminded in Scripture that we do not grieve as the world does. We have the hope of not only the resurrection, seeing them again on the other side of life and death, but also the hope and comfort that for those who are in Christ, solely trusting in Him for our salvation, we know that eternity awaits us and them. So, while we do not grieve as the world does, when confronted by such an overwhelming display of sorrow, I hope that we are moved to compassion. This person grieves because of a loss of hope and of one that they have loved.

Often when we hear the word “mourning”, this is the kind of image and idea we are left with. We can also mourn over the ills of this world. When we endure such tragedies as school shootings, the constant threat of terrorist attacks, poverty and human suffering in the form of starvation, we should be led to mourn and weep over the brokenness of this world. It should also lead us to seek to help through mercy ministries, helping to feed the poor, and involving ourselves in working to help those less fortunate. It should also include a desire and efforts to share the ultimate hope that we have in Jesus. Evangelism and mercy ministries can and should go hand in hand-  a cold cup of water and a sharing of the Gospel.

While these are right and true understandings of the word “mourning”, this is not really what the Lord means when he says, “Blessed are those who mourn.” Yes, we are to mourn over the loss of a friend or family member. Yes, we are to mourn over the fallen-ness of this world. But the context for these Beatitudes sets a different tone to understanding what Jesus means here.

In the previous Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, Jesus tells us that only those who recognize their deep spiritual poverty and come to the Father with a begging spirit, only they will be accepted and filled, living contented and full lives. This is a begging from a poverty of spirit that leads to salvation. Blessed are the beggarly poor. Being spiritually poor means that we have no resources in and of ourselves. This gives us context for our current Beatitude. Those who have nothing in and of themselves, no spiritual resources to save or change ourselves must come as a beggar to the Lord. And He abundantly provides. Here we find the attitude of such a beggar, a posture of mourning over our sin and desperation. Mourning leads to recognition of our sinful lives. Recognition leads to coming to the Lord for help. Coming to the Lord for help leads to repentance and repentance leads to being comforted by the Holy Spirit.

In John chapter eleven we see what this kind of mourning looks like, in all of its fullness. This is the story of Jesus coming to the grave of Lazarus, His friend. Christ wept when He saw that His friend had died. Christ here combines a totality of mourning. Christ wept over the death of a friend. Christ wept over the brokenness and fragility of life that ended in death. But Christ also wept over sin, not His own sin for He had none but the sinfulness of the world, the sinfulness of His friend Lazarus, that led to his death. He wept over the sin of the world that would lead to His going to the Cross, to bear the penalty for the sins of His children. Christ truly understood the magnitude of sin and its origin and its consequences. He wept over the lostness of humanity, the loss of intimacy and fellowship that sin and rebellion brought. He wept over the pain and sorrow in this world.

In this Beatitude, Jesus is talking to His true followers who have come, with nothing in their hands to offer in the way of trying to save themselves (the beggarly poor in spirit), and who are overwhelmed by their own sin, leading to a deep mourning and hatred of it. Do we mourn over our sin? Do we remember that our sin was what hung Jesus on the Cross? The nails that pierced His hands and His feet were forged from our anger and our selfishness and our lust and our hearts that demand freedom from law and rules and governing. We drove those sin-forged nails into His feet and palms and He bore the penalty that we deserved. Does this bring us to the place of mourning over our sin? Not just feelings of sorrow because we have been caught or because we are suffering under consequences. But true, deep sorrow over our rebellion? Do we ever weep, sobs of desperate understanding of our sinfulness and what it cost Christ to bear on His shoulders the weight of God’s wrath, wrath undeserved in and of Himself, wrath that we should have to bear but in mercy and grace, He took upon Himself. Do we weep and mourn over this sin?

If we do then there is good news. We are promised comfort. We are promised a lifting up as we read in Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” We are promised a forgiveness of sins and a cleansing or changing as we read in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So, What Now?

Do you know anyone who is mourning over a loss? Comfort them with a listening ear and your words to encourage. Do you know anyone who is mourning over the brokenness of this world? Mourn with them and seek to find a way to alleviate someone’s misery by giving a cold cup of water, or a helping hand to find a job, a meal or some other tangible expression. Do you mourn over a sin or sin pattern in your life today? Confess it and ask the Lord to cleanse you from your sin and replace it with right thinking/behaving.