We are working our way through the Beatitudes here at Joy Pursued, and today I am excited to have Julie from The Hallway Initiative here to introduce the second Beatitude. If you new around here, you can find the introduction to the series here, and see all the posts on the first Beatitude here.
Have you ever felt a little apathetic about reading your Bible, feeling feel like you already know what it’s going to say? I know I have, and if I’m honest, it happens a whole lot more than I’d like to admit. But I’ve also discovered that no matter how familiar I am with a passage of Scripture, there is always something new and beautiful to learn about it! That’s the Holy Spirit at work in us – making God’s Word come alive in our minds and hearts. It’s one of the most amazing miracles ever!
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. I’ve read through it countless times, and I’ve also heard numerous sermons and Bible studies on it. And yet, when I began studying it again in preparation for this post, I couldn’t believe how alive it became!
For example, I’d never previously thought about who Jesus gave this sermon to. Since He often spoke to larger crowds of people, I’d always assumed the sermon on the mount was given to the general population just like most of His parables were. But as several commentators pointed out, Jesus is actually speaking to His disciples (see Matthew 5:1-2).
So, if we’re followers of Christ, that means He gave this sermon directly to us as well. Jesus intended it for believers who have the help of the Holy Spirit to understand some of His counter-cultural statements.
For those of us who have grown up with God’s Word, the Sermon on the Mount might not seem all that unusual or out of place. But when we stop and think about the world’s culture and teachings, we can grasp a sense of the revolutionary things Jesus was saying. He was teaching a way of life that was in direct opposition of what the unsaved believed.
With that background in mind, let’s dive into verse 4:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Because I grew up in a Christian home and have been reading my Bible for years, this verse was very familiar to me. I’ve had it memorized for a long time. As I pondered it anew, though, I noticed for the first time just how true it is.
Believers can mourn over our sin, our hardships, our losses, those who are perishing in spiritual darkness. There’s no shortage of things to feel sad or sorry about. Even Jesus, God’s own Son, wept over Lazarus’ death (John 11:35) and mourned over Jerusalem’s lost sheep (Luke 13:34).
If Jesus hadn’t come to die in our place and hadn’t made a way for us to be saved, we would be very sad people, indeed.
But when we stop and view this through the lens of the Holy Spirit, we can see exactly what Christ meant when He said that those who mourn will find comfort.
If we’re mourning over our sin, our sorrow will help to bring us back to repentance. Paul talked about this very thing in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11a (ESV):
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you…”
If we’re distraught over our hardships, we can find strength in the Lord. One of my favorite passages of Scripture comes from Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV):
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. [Emphasis added]
If we’re mourning over our Earthly losses, we can remember that in Heaven, He will dry all tears from our eyes.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4, ESV
If we’re crying out over the unsaved, we can rest in God’s mercy, grace, and love.
“For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’” Romans 9:15, ESV
When we mourn our sin, God is quick to forgive.
“…For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34b, ESV
As we read Scripture, we see the truth of Jesus’ words: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Even in the darkest of circumstances, we as Christians can find our comfort in God and His Word.
Isaiah 61:1-3 provides a beautiful picture of the comfort we find in Jesus:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. [Emphasis added]
Isn’t that a beautiful promise? It doesn’t matter how much we mourn, weep, and cry here on Earth. Christ came to comfort us – to offer us Eternal Life. There is so much comfort in knowing that we will get to spend Eternity with Him!
So, what do we do with our new-found knowledge of Matthew 5:4?
I’ve only recently begun to learn how to apply the Bible to my daily life, but I think there two noticeable takeaways here.
When we’re mourning, we need to fix our eyes on God. He is the source of all comfort, and He alone can provide the joy that we lack when we’re sorrowing. And He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which He even referred to as the Comforter (see John 14:26; 15:26; and 16:7, KJV).
When those around us are mourning, we need to encourage them with Scripture. While we need to be careful not to tritely toss out Bible references and leave it at that, we can come alongside them in love and walk with them through their sorrow, gently pointing them to Christ with verses from God’s Word.
So, while it may seem backward to say that those who mourn will be comforted, we can see from Scripture that mourning believers will find their comfort in God. Weeping may last a night, but joy comes in the morning. And the joy of the Lord will truly be our strength to endure times of mourning!
Julie Moore is wife to Jon and mom to their four spark plugs, the oldest of whom has Type 1 Diabetes. When not helping Jon with his business or homeschooling the kids, she blogs at The Hallway Initiative, encouraging Christian women to praise the Lord in the midst of hardship.
Linking up at Moments of Hope