Summary: Blessed are those who mourn for they WILL be comforted, lets get an insight into what this means and why we should all at some stage mourn our sins.
You might remember from last week that I started a series on the beatitudes, so what was beatitude?
Beatitude comes from the Latin word for blessed – or beatus.
So what Jesus starts, what would be the greatest sermon, the most history changing sermon ever preached with was blessing, The blessed’s!
The people of Jesus time were a fairly gnarly bunch, these people lived in a country that was a provided by God’s provision, as part of a covenant that had been made with their ancestor Abraham, but due to their neglecting their relationship with God collectively, they often got into the odd spot of bother. At Jesus time, the people were under Roman rule, and adhered to strict religious law. Add to that control of Jewish kings that gave homage to Rome, times were tense, taxes hard. When King Herod the Great died the nation was left completely broke.
Jewish girls could be married from the age of twelve and a half, though their fathers still had control of them. They could even be sold by their fathers to into slavery to another Jew for a period of seven years. “Marriages were arranged. The woman had to obey her husband, mill the grain, cook, wash, make the meals, nurse the infants, work the wool, and, in some cases, wash the face and feet of her husband.”(Everyday life in the time of Jesus: FR F Manns) It wasn’t all tough for the ladies, there was perfume, mirrors, jewelry and sewing needles.
“Certain professions were looked on with contempt. The Mishna (Qidushin 4:14) gave a list: the donkey driver, the camel driver, the sailor, the coachman, the shepherd, the shopkeeper, the doctor and the butcher. The rebukes given to the doctors were because they gave preferential treatment to the rich and neglected the poor. ”(Everyday life in the time of Jesus: FR F Manns) A man could divorce his wife if he couldn’t support her; among a large number of other reasons and men if you contracted leprosy she could do likewise, for better or worse? So toss in the Roman oppression of the Jews who lived under very strict religious law and it only got worse.
What happened when Jesus came on the scene?
Life was tough, into this hard life came this Rabbi with a different way of looking at things, this teacher who spoke words that took people from this reality to a place where, he opened his mouth and spoke words that got everyone’s attention.” “Blessed”, to those hearing this it meant divine joy and perfect happiness, the word was not used for humans; it described the kind of joy experienced only by the (heavenly beings) or the dead. “Blessed” implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness. This is what the Lord offers those who trust Him! ”
Last week we looked at the first beatitude, what this “blessed are the poor in spirit” was about, being blessed because you are poor in spirit means is that in realising your poorness of spirit you do something about it, you seek after God. God comes into your life and things change as the Holy Spirit impacts your way of living.
When we compare ourselves to Jesus we are all poor in spirit, when we compare ourselves to the Holiness of God how do we weigh up we don’t and we are all in the words of Johnny Cash, “weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
So what Jesus was saying was that the poor in spirit had correctly estimated where they stood with God, to be able to see they needed God, that with Jesus working through us by his Holy Spirit we can then have abundant life – spiritually enriched. We can be right with God.
To do this there come another realization, Jesus spoke about this, when he said; “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
1) Why is it that these people are blessed because they mourn? Because of what they are mourning about. So what is it they are mourning about, maybe one of the kids has run off and joined up with those radical zealots, or dinged the chariot, they could have lost their best fishing net or a family member might just been arrested by the Romans for not paying their taxes and are being sold at the slave market next Thursday. No it’s not about that type of mourning, this again about something spiritual.
What it’s about what these mourners have discovered is that they are affected by those things that get in the way of their relationship with God, that those things that we call sin; are things that separate, that put a partition between them and God. They’ve discovered that they are sold out to a way of living that they don’t want to be in, because they want to be close to God.