Summary: How is it that those who mourn are blessed? How is it that the one who mourns will be comforted? What exactly are the blessed mourning? How is it that we mourn? The truth is that there is a godly sorrow that brings repentance that leads to salvation a
Those Who Mourn - Matthew 5:4 - July 17, 2011
Series: Kingdom Life - A World Turned Upside Down #2 / Communion
Some 2000 years ago Jesus shook up the world in which He walked when He called those who would follow Him to a radical way of doing life. Now, He didn’t espouse violence. He wasn’t calling for an insurrection. That’s not the type of radical we’re talking about. But for those who would follow Him there was no middle ground; there was no easy path. To follow Him meant learning a new way of thinking, and doing, and living – a way that was contrary to everything to which they had become accustomed. To follow Jesus meant to have your world turned upside down.
I want you to understand, that it is no different for us, today. Those who would follow Christ are going to pay a price. It’s going to mean letting go of much of what we’re accustomed to. It’s going to mean a radical shift in the way we think, and do, and live. That’s why Scripture says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – a change is taking place as the old ways of thinking, and doing, and living are replaced by that which is pleasing, and honoring to God. In the words of Romans 12, we become, “living sacrifices,” with our lives continually being given over to the glory of God.
Perhaps nowhere in Jesus’ words does that conflict between the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of this World, become so clear as it does in the Sermon on the Mount – as Jesus taught the people about life in the kingdom of Heaven. We started to look at His teaching a couple of weeks ago when began trying to understand the Beatitudes. And for those of us who weren’t able to be here at that time, the Beatitudes comprise a portion of Jesus’ teaching with each teaching beginning with the word, “blessed.”
We’re going to continue with that study this morning as we take a look at the second Beatitude. So let’s open our Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew, chapter 5, beginning in verse 1. This is what is written …
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:1–4, NIV)
That’s another teaching that’s difficult to wrap our heads around, isn’t it? How is it, that Jesus can say, “Profoundly happy,” (for that’s what that word, “blessed,” means), “profoundly happy are those who mourn?” Mourning is not something we are eager to do. When we think of mourning we think of pain and loss and suffering. While God may comfort us in our grief at losing a loved one, we don’t consider ourselves as being happy in our grief. Truth is when we mourn we are wounded and broken and hurting and torn up inside. So what’s Jesus really referring to here?
Well that word, “mourn” gives us a clue. It’s translated from the strongest term for “mourning” in the Greek language. It’s used to refer to deep seated grief in regards to our circumstances or condition. James writes, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. ” (James 4:8–9, NRSV) The word, that James uses for, ‘mourn,’ in these verses is the same word that’s used in Matthew 5.4 and it’s tied, not to the grief that comes of losing a loved one, instead it’s tied to the reality of our own sin. So when Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn,” what we are really meant to hear Him saying is, “Profoundly happy are those who are filled with an overwhelming sorrow for their sin – those who mourn their sin; who are broken by it.”
And here we must distinguish between a worldly sorrow as we mourn, and a godly sorrow, for Scripture itself makes such a distinction. Paul, in his 2 letter to the Corinthians writes to them with these words saying, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NIV)
As a child I experienced worldly sorrow when I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar when I knew it oughtn’t to have been there. I may have been sorry, not because I believed it was wrong to take the cookie, but because I got caught doing it. I was sorry, for myself, because my actions led to consequences which I would have rather avoided but I didn’t really believe I had done anything wrong. Given another opportunity I would have tried to raid the cookie jar again. That’s worldly sorrow. Such sorrow, says Paul, produces death. We see that in the life of Judas, don’t we? He betrays Jesus, later he regrets it, feels sorry for it, but goes and takes his own life. His was not a sorrow that lead to repentance. It brought only death.