Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 ESV
When we hear the word “mourn” we usually think of a person’s grieving over someone who has passed away. But this “mourn” is more aligned with the word “lament”, which indicates a passionate expression of deep grief or sorrow over a life condition.
Throughout their history, Israel had often been occupied by foreign powers, which was allowed by God because of their constant rebellion and refusal to obey Him. He sent prophet after prophet to lament and mourn over their situation, hoping to bring them to repentance so He could send deliverance. Jesus spoke these words to people who mourned because their land and lives were dominated and occupied by the Romans, so His call to mourn would have been very similar to the words of the prophets.
The difference was in the promise Jesus articulated. He was talking about a different “mourning” altogether. When He said, “for they shall be comforted,” it would have been a huge surprise. These listeners weren’t looking for comfort, they wanted deliverance. Even after Jesus had died, was buried and rose again, the disciples still expected Him to deliver Israel! In Acts 1, the disciples asked Jesus, “are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
The comfort Jesus offered to mourners then, and offers us now, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, is peace, security, and solace on an individual, personal level. This comfort is calm during a storm... It’s security when instability is everywhere... It’s peace when conflict is all around... It’s the kind of peace that “passes all understanding”...
Even in the Beatitudes, Jesus was beginning the process of exploding Israel’s expectations of the Messiah. It’s the main point of Mark’s Gospel, too. Jesus ushered in a new era, a new idea, a new method, a new covenant, a new sacrifice, a new repentance, a new personal, not national, connection with God our Father. Let’s follow Jesus!
Grace & Peace