Blessed are Those Who Mourn?
““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:3–4, CSB)
We often read Jesus’ famous Beatitudes as virtues for which we should strive. But is it good to be spiritually impoverished? Is it good to mourn?
Maybe we’re reading them all wrong. Maybe the Beatitudes aren’t goals to reach – maybe they are descriptions of us. It may help to remember Jesus’ audience for this sermon: “Then the news about him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics…” (Matthew 4:24, CSB) Not a pretty group.
Jesus’ audience are the spiritually bereft…those who are sorrowful about life. But that’s who the Kingdom is for! Those are the folks Jesus came for. He says, “Though you are poor in spirit, welcoming God’s rule in your life can change that! Though life hasn’t turned out the way you dreamed it would, God’s reign in your heart can change that, too!”
We need to read Jesus’ “blessings” not as statements of fact, but as statements of effect. Jesus has come to change things…here on the earth and in our lives as well. Jesus has come to us ne’er do wells to bless us. All it takes for that to happen is to make him King.
I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we talk about the Beatitudes in our sermon series “Lessons from the Mount.”