Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua
In my last post, we began looking at the Sermon on the Mount ~ Happy Are the Poor in Spirit. In this post, we will look at how happy are the mournful.
“How blessed are those who mourn! for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
It should be noted that the Greek word used here for ‘mourn’ is the strongest word for mourning in the Greek language. It is the word, which is used for mourning for the dead, for the passionate lament for one who was loved. It is defined as the kind of grief, which takes such a hold on a man that it cannot be hid. It is not only the sorrow, which brings an ache to the heart; it is the sorrow, which brings the unrestrainable tears to the eyes. Here then indeed is an amazing kind of bliss:
How blessed is the man who mourns like one mourning for the dead.
The question is frequently asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is the wrong question, because it’s the one question God will never answer. God never answers the why, because the person who asks why doesn’t really want an explanation, he wants an argument. The right question is “What happened to good people when bad things happen to them?” Isaiah 43:1-3 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I am calling you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through water, I will be with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched – the flame will not burn you. For I am Adonai, your God, the Holy One of Isra’el, your Savior.” Trouble never leaves us where it finds us; sorrow will change our tomorrow. God inspires us to become better people, not bitter.
There are three ways in which this beatitude can be taken.
(i) It can be taken quite literally: Blessed is the man who has endured the bitterest sorrow that life can bring. It’s okay to be honest about our grief. Pour out your hearts to God, for He is our refuge.
Sorrow can do two things for us. It can show us, as nothing else can, the essential kindness of our friends; and it can show us, as nothing else can, the comfort and the compassion of God. Many a person in the hour of his sorrow has discovered his friends and his God as he never did before. When things go well it is possible to live for years on the surface of things; but when sorrow comes, a man is driven to the deep things of life, and, if he acts constructively, a new strength and beauty enter into his soul.
(ii) Some people have taken this beatitude to mean: Blessed are those who are desperately sorry for the sorrow and the suffering of this world.
When we were thinking of the first beatitude we saw that it is always right to be detached from things, but it is never right to be detached from people. This world would be a poorer place, if there had not been those who cared intensely about the sorrows and the sufferings of others.
(iii) No doubt both these thoughts are in this beatitude, but its main thought undoubtedly is: How blessed is the man who is desperately sorry for his own sin and his own unworthiness.
Yeshua’s first spoken word as recorded by Mathew was, “Repent!” (Matthew 4:17) No man can repent unless he is sorry for his sins.
That is what the Execution Stake does for us. As we look at the Execution Stake, we are bound to say, “That is what sin can do. Sin can take the loveliest life in the entire world and nail it on an Execution Stake.” One of the great functions of the Execution Stake is to open the eyes of men and women to the horror of sin. And when a man sees sin in all its horror he cannot do anything else but experience intense sorrow for his sin.
Blessed is the man who is intensely sorry for his sin, the man who is heart-broken for what his sin has done to God and to Yeshua, the man who sees the Execution Stake and who is appalled by the havoc wrought by his own sin.
Don’t blame God for the suffering in this world! Blame human beings for personally choosing the path heading to heartache and sorrow. Blame human beings for rejecting the divine truth when it is shown to them. Blame human beings for refusing God’s salvation, even when offered in the name of Yeshua.
Here then is the good news – the bad news can be turned into good news – when you change your attitude. Accept the comfort that God is trying to offer you. God’s comfort. He doesn’t pity. He doesn’t commiserate. He picks us up, dries our tears, soothes our fears, and lifts our thought beyond our hurt. How does He comfort us?
- He gives us courage.
- He gives us a sense of calm.
- He gives us companionship.
- He gives us compassion.
- He gives us a new set of commitments – Romans 8:28
When tragedy strikes, never look at what you have lost, look at what you have left. It’s all a matter of our positive perspective.
The real meaning of the second beatitude is:
O how blessed is the man whose heart is broken for the world’s suffering and for his own sin, for out of his sorrow he will find the joy of God!
When Yeshua sits down to give the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew implies He took a moment to gather His thoughts. The phrase He uses signaled to an ancient audience that the message to come would be both powerful and personal.
It is the powerful message of a King announcing the arrival of His Kingdom and inviting all who hear His call to follow Him into the Kingdom. It is the personal message of a god who comes to live among us – an intimate and involved god – leaving heaven to declare that religion can no longer be used as an excuse for keeping distant from Him.
We are called to do things that are impossible for mere humans and so we should expect that we will be constantly pushed into positions that require faith. If we are living a life that does not require faith, then we are not living the life of a talmid.
In my next post, we will look at how happy are the meek.