In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord is teaching about the kingdom of God and is describing the characteristics of the citizen of the Kingdom. After saying that the blessed person is poor in spirit, Jesus declares, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)” I want to take some time to consider this topic of mourning and understand what Jesus is teaching us. We will see that there is great blessing concealed in mourning.
In Part 1 of this study we discovered that the primary point that Jesus is making in Matthew 5:4 is that those who mourn deeply over their sin and who repent of their sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness and salvation will be comforted. Their mourning over sin will be replaced with the joy of salvation. That is certainly the main teaching of this verse. But while this is the “Mount Everest” of this verse, I believe there are a couple of “sand dunes” of application related to mourning which can also be useful to the believer.
In these last days of the last days, I find myself deeply troubled by the rampant escalation of evil in this world. Through every available medium, man’s wickedness, cruelty and blatant immorality are constantly on display and I am affected by this. God’s holiness and His commandments are despised and ignored and man hurtles like a runaway train toward God’s judgment.
The pain created by the escalation of evil causes me to mourn. I mourn the fallenness of man and the sadness of this life and I lament how irreversibly we have strayed from God’s paths of righteousness and peace and I can become so discouraged.
But I believe that God has spoken into this type of mourning also and that there is a path from the place of mourning and lamentation that leads into the place of God’s comfort.
God has provided us with His Word and there in His Word I can find solace. I read in the psalms of other believers who experienced similar mourning over the evil and wickedness in the world and sharing these lamentations with others brings comfort. Also, as I read of others who cried out to the Lord in the midst of their mourning, I can likewise cry out to the Lord, for God’s Word has sanctioned my lamentations. If life was difficult for them, then it is okay if it is difficult to me.
It is also obvious from the pages of Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). As Jesus walked through this sinful world, there is no doubt that He was burdened by the sin of the people around Him. Jesus mourned the evil in the world and yet still kept His eyes fixed on the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Thus He left me an example to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21). He demonstrated that life in this fallen world is about striving against sin (Hebrews 12:4). With Jesus as my perfect example of striving against sin, I can imperfectly strive while mourning the evil remaining within me and the evil I see and feel in the world around me.
Finally, even though this mourning is a burden and can sometimes drain me of joy and encouragement, I know that my mourning is temporary. Even if it should last for all of my lifetime, I am convinced that one day the mourning will cease and I will arrive in heaven. One day the Lord will wipe away every tear from my eye (Revelation 21:4) and will eliminate all wickedness and evil and sin and will take me to the house of the Lord. Because of Jesus and His death and resurrection, I am persuaded that heaven is my destination. Therefore, blessed are those who mourn in the Lord, for they will be comforted. SDG rmb 11/19/2016