Summary: Until our hearts break like Jesus’ did we will not mourn as He did.
Blessed Are The Mourners?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
February 22, 2004
This morning we are continuing our look at the Sermon on the Mount, and we are now at the second of the Beatitudes. Last week we considered what it meant to be poor in spirit, and why that was such a blessed characteristic. To be poor in spirit really is not just to be in a condition of spiritual poverty, but rather it is to recognize and embrace your spiritual poverty. We are all spiritually bankrupt – the problem is that most people don’t like to or don’t want to admit it. You remember that just a few years ago, when Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota, he told Playboy magazine…
“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.”
Many of us got upset that he would say such a thing – but is organized religion, or Christianity a crutch? Looking at it through the eyes of the Sermon on the Mount, and particularly through the Beatitudes, I say, “Yes – Christianity is a crutch, but then, what is wrong with a crutch?” I’ll tell you what is wrong with a crutch – they make people admit their need, their weakness, and their inability to get along on their own, and that is exactly what we don’t like to do. The funny thing is though – that the best way for us to get along is to embrace our need, grab the crutches, and walk on! The man who breaks his ankle and has a cast is a fool if he leaves the crutches at home because of what people will think – and so is the man or woman who knows they don’t have it all figured out; but fails to embrace Christ’s offer because someone might think they are weak. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” I say to you that the fool has also said that he can make out all right without God. This gives great meaning to what we find in Mark 2:15-17.
“And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus came to help those who recognized their spiritual poverty, and those that recognize and embrace it are blessed beyond measure – theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Do you know why these people are so blessed? They are blessed because they realize they can quit trying to impress God with what they think they’ve got. Can you imagine the richest one of you trying to impress Bill Gates with your wealth? Can you imagine our best basketball player trying to impress Michael Jordan with his ability? or the best businessman in the room trying to impress Donald Trump with your business savvy? That’s exactly what we try to do with God – He is rich beyond measure, so much higher than we are, and yet we work and work and work at trying to impress Him when all He wants is for us to stop. The blessed man is one who has stopped and now lives in the freedom Christ offers!
What about the next statement? Jesus goes on teaching us what we are to be. In Matthew 5:4, He goes on to say…
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the mourners? Surely we are missing something, right? After all, we spend our entire lives in pursuit of happiness, so why would Jesus come along and tell us that if we are to find happiness, or if we are to enjoy that rich, full, abundant life He offers, we’ve got to do so by mourning? Happy are the sad? Brother Kevin, we are missing something – that just can’t be. Look with me to Luke 6:25. Jesus says the same thing another way.
“Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep.”
Is Jesus a killjoy? Is there something wrong with enjoying life and having fun? Are we to go around with a sad look on our faces all the time? We know that’s not the truth, for the Bible teaches us for a fact that we are to be a people of great joy. In fact, it is a fruit of the Spirit. If we are following God as we ought, if we are walking in the Spirit, then our lives will be characterized by great joy. The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians, teaching us how to have joy, and if you will look down your list of Beatitudes in Matthew 5, you will find Jesus telling us to rejoice in verse 12. How can that be? How is it that Jesus blesses those who mourn, then tells us to rejoice? Is it a contradiction? That depends on how you define what it means to mourn.