Beatitudes: Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:3-12).

As we continue our study of the beatitudes, we will look at “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Many people read those words and think of someone who has lost a loved one, and while that can certainly be of great comfort in those times, the author uses it differently. There are two schools of thought about what Matthew was speaking about. The first contends that he is speaking of those who “mourn” because of persecution and poverty.  The second, that he is referring to those who “mourn” under the sorrow and guilt of sin. Instead of choosing one or the other, it is best to see it as both and even as a comfort for those mourning the loss of someone dear to them.

Some will turn to Luke 6:21 as a parallel and evidence for their thought that Matthew is speaking of a personal bereavement – “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” The dualistic nature of scripture absolutely allows for such interpretation, but strictly speaking, Luke is more literal, and Matthew is more spiritual in what they are saying. Moreover, the Lucan passage was aimed at the disciples and their material and social disadvantages, while Matthew addressed a much larger audience. Again, the use is more fluid than “only this or that,” but we need to understand its proper intent to fully comprehend the magnitude of the blessing.

If you read through all of the selected verses, you will notice a theme. Matthew is commending those the world typically looks down on or completely rejects and then places a value on them beyond this world. How comforting to know that there is a prize for those who are undervalued because of their spiritual compass. Isaiah says this to that group who suffer hardship in this world. Isa. 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”

I particularly love the aforementioned verses because it elevates those who are suffering from mourning to a place of honor and favor in the sight of God. Their current circumstances will not dictate their future happiness. They will be adorned in the beauty of the glory of God and stand righteous before Him. What beautiful words for all who mourn for whatever reason. No matter your personal struggles, God is always near and ready to restore you and elevate you in His sight. Your is His comfort always. Matt. 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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