Blessed are Those Who Mourn (3 of 26) by Jonathan McLeod

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Blessed are Those Who Mourn (3 of 26)
Series: Kingdom Life
Jonathan McLeod
Matthew 5:4

''Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted'' (Matt. 5:4).

SCRIPTURE READING

When I was a kid I watched Sesame Street, and one of the segments on the show was ''One of these things is not like the others.'' [Show an image of one of these segments.] In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that the people of God's kingdom should not be like other people. We should be different.

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes. The second beatitude says, ''Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted'' (Matt. 5:4). When Jesus said these words, he was probably thinking of Isaiah 61:1-4.

[Read Isaiah 61:1-4.]

HAPPY ARE THE SAD?

A few months ago, my wife and I met with a guy at the bank to take care of some financial matters. During our meeting, he talked about life insurance. And every time he mentioned a scenario in which Marsha or I died, he would say, ''Heaven forbid.'' Every time. People try to avoid thinking and talking about sad things.

How can Jesus say, ''Blessed are those who mourn''? In essence, Jesus is saying, ''Happy are the sad.'' How do Jesus' words make sense?

GOOD GRIEF

Charles Quarles explains the connection between Isaiah 61 and the second beatitude:

The context of Isaiah 61 portrays the ''mourning'' as an expression of sorrow over Israel's exile, which was a punishment for their sinful rebellion. This mourning was thus an expression of grief from those suffering the consequences of sin and constituted an attitude of repentance. The appeal to Isaiah 61 in the second beatitude thus implies that the mourning of which Jesus spoke was mourning for sin and its grievous consequences.

So when Jesus said, ''Blessed are those who mourn,'' he wasn't talking about bereavement (i.e., sorrow over the loss of a loved one); he was talking about repentance (i.e., sorrow over sin). Repentance is a good kind ...


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