Summary: The first step of a blessed life is the recognition that we are poor in spirit, that we have a deep need in our lives, a need caused by our sin. The second step is to mourn over our sin.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN
The first beatitude confronted us with our deep need. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." The first step towards God is the recognition that we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. That idea is frowned upon by the world today. However it is the first step in becoming a blessed person.
The second beatitude is also frowned upon by the world. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." Once again the world considers this as utterly ridiculous. "Happy are those who mourn." Why this is crazy! Why would anyone think that mourning is a key to happiness. Yet Jesus gave this beatitude as one of the keys of a blessed life.
Note the progression. The first step of a blessed life is the recognition that we are poor in spirit, that we have a deep need in our lives, a need caused by our sin. The second step is to mourn over our sin.
As we meditate on this verse, I want us to look at mourning from at least three different directions.
I. THERE IS THE MOURNING CAUSED BY PERSONAL LOSS.
All of us, at least those of us who have been around for a while know what it is to mourn over some personal loss. Many of you have grieved more than once in your life. Many people in Florida are grieving over the loss of their homes because of hurricane Opel.
Perhaps you grieved at the death of a parent, a child, a mate, a friend. Others of you have grieved over the loss of a job, or a personal rejection, or a loss of health. It could be sorrow over the death of a pet. I remember crying when my cat killed my canary.
When I was a child I hated wearing glasses. Yet I cried when my uncle stepped on them and broke them.
Many of the heroes in the Bible knew what it was to grieve.
King David grieved deeply when his rebellious son Absalom was killed in battle. He cried over and over "O my son Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in you place! O Absalom my son, my son!" As a father who has lost a son in death, I can identify with his deep pain.
Many Christian parents are in grief over the rebellion of their children.
Yet the good news is that Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1 which says "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted....."
The psalmist said, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness...."
Psalm 30:5a; 11.
II. THERE IS THE MOURNING CAUSED BY THE SIN - SORROW - AND SUFFERING IN THE WORLD.
One of our problems today is that we have become to desensitized to the problems of the real world. For example, we have seen so many bloated stomachs of starving children, we are no longer moved by their tragic plight. We have become so desensitized to gory violence on television and in the movies that many could care less for human life. We even go so far as to make heroes out of those who commit such horrible acts. We have come to the place where those who really care about human life have become the enemies of society.
Listen to what Jeremiah said about his day. "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,"says the Lord." (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12)
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. It seems that he was about the only one who literally wept over the persistent sin and the coming destruction because of that sin. He wrote "Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, for the slain of the daughter of my people."
Our Lord also grieved over his world. The Bible never tells us that Jesus laughed. He became angry, hungry, thirsty, sorrowful, etc. On at least two occasions Jesus wept.
1. Jesus wept at the death of a friend. Lazarus had died and he wept with Mary and Martha. He enters into our pain. Do we weep with others in their sorrow and pain.
2. Jesus wept over a lost city. (Luke 19:41-44) "Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ’if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for you peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side. and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, BECAUSE YOU DID NOT KNOW THE TIME OF YOUR VISITATION."