“The Church is where Jesus heals, not where He measures sin.” Pope Francis.
In studying the first Beatitude from Matthew 5:3 last week, we learned to empty ourselves of ourselves and take a posture of total reliance on Jesus as our savior. This week, we build on that premise and learn that coming to Him with a repentant heart makes all the difference in the world in our healing.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Jesus himself does not specify or indicate precisely what kind of mourning He was referring to here. BUT, as we are beginning to understand, the Beatitudes are not necessarily speaking about emotional states of mind or physical states of being. Instead, they refer to our spiritual state.
We live in a fallen world; one in which sin has made a home. Foundationally, sin is the root of things that cause us all kinds of pain. Simply stated, sin is something bad that separates us from something good.
The kind of spiritual mourning Jesus is most likely referring to in Matthew 5:4 is not from the loss of a person, possession, personal power, or even a position in life. It’s about mourning and grieving as a result of sin. And believe it or not, that’s a blessing.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is on me. The Lord has chosen me to tell good news to the poor and to comfort those who are sad. He sent me to tell the captives and prisoners that they have been set free. … He has sent me to comfort those who are sad, those in Zion who mourn. … I will take away their sadness, and I will give them the oil of happiness. I will take away their sorrow, and I will give them celebration clothes.” Isaiah 61:1-3, ERV
Man, I love it when God repeats himself in scripture! That’s a big deal – like, a really BIG deal. And Jesus KNEW his audience (the disciples, remember) would know He was quoting this gorgeous piece of comfort from the prophet Isaiah when He delivered the first two Beatitudes. They would also be aware Isaiah was relaying a message that directly referred to the repentant hearts of the people of Israel over the exile their own sins has caused. And because of their repentance, God assured them of His comfort once again.
What does a repentant heart look like, practically speaking and in a bit more “modern terms”? If you did the Romans study with us (and even if you didn’t!) you are most likely familiar with the story of the Prodigal son. You can click here to for a refresher on that story! He wants us always to come home.
“God’s children are hardwired to run home when the storm comes. It is the heaven-born instinct of a repentant soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wing of our Father.” Jennifer Dean Kennedy, Set Apart.
Many a lost soul has been converted on the doorstep of a crisis, and you should know God is MORE than okay with that – it may even be His plan for some of us! Life has a way of tripping us up. We have a way of falling for it (and on a regular basis)! Sometimes, we create the sin. Sometimes, sin creates itself. Either way, we don’t like it and, therefore, it brings us grief and mourning.
But Jesus hasn’t forgotten you. If you’ve come to Him with a heart of sorrow and repentance, He’s already working on “it”, whatever it may be, and He knows what your heart feels today.
Whenever I think about human, spiritual mourning, I think maybe Mary, the blessed Mother of Jesus, had it the worst, really. She didn’t ask for “this”. She didn’t wake up one day and head to the fertility clinic and ask to be the Mother of God as an unwed girl. She didn’t ask to raise a child that others would mercilessly mock. She didn’t ask to watch as her son was brutally murdered – all as a result of the sins of human beings. She didn’t ask for any of it. But, she accepted her assignment. Only to be told the following by a prophet named Simeon:
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother…A sword will pierce your soul, too.” Luke 2:34-25
Sin brings so much brokenness and grief and pain and mourning to this world. But I pray you find comfort in the FACT, the TRUTH, that your God sent His son to save you from it; He came to offer you comfort through reconciliation to Him and eternity.
So, if we were to rewrite Matthew 5:4 to a more modern version, it might sound something like this: “Blessed are those who have the honesty and humility to admit their sin and their pain and be convicted of it, because in the end, Jesus cleans up your mess, wipes away your tears, and brings you Home.”
Join us next week as we tackle the concept of a meek and mild savior…! 😉
Following along with the homework for our series? Click here to access the link to Week Three Homework (I really, really love Level 2 Homework this week so if you can find time to delve into it, I highly encourage you to do so!). Liking our song selections? Then you’ll want to click here for this week’s music by Third Day, “I Need a Miracle”!
Praying for a blessed week, sweet friends! Until next week, God bless.
Peace, love, and JOY!
(Photo cred and rights: Ella Connors and Wendie Connors, 2015, all rights reserved.)
P.S. Did you like that adorable puppy picture above?! Then you are sure to love this one! Welcome to the world, Scout B.! Who’s-a-good-boy?!?!?