The Beatitudes - Those that Mourn
September 3, 2019
by Barry Fike
You have to go back to Isaiah 61:1-3 to find the source Jesus is quoting from to make his point in this verse. Besides our text in Matthew 5, we find Jesus quoting these verses in Matthew 11:2-6 and Luke 4:18, 29. Matt. 11 is when he makes his reply to John the Baptist, and in Lk. 4:18, 29 he is at the synagogue in Nazareth. In both of these passages Jesus is pointing to his role as the divine figure of Daniel 7:13, 14, the Bar Enosh-the Son of Man!
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
The role of the Son of man was to bring relief, healing, salvation (or completeness) to his people so that they might see God among them and that he might be the final redemption, or sacrifice, for the sins of the people.
So what does it mean to mourn? It means to be brokenhearted. It is those who have reached the end of their own human strength and who cry out to God in despair and hopelessness. Basically to mourn means to be poor in spirit!
Blessed are the spiritual mourners who are broken hearted; those at the end of their own spiritual strength. They cry out to God in helplessness and despair. These are the people who are going to get comforted. But what does that mean?
Isaiah 66:13 – “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 54:11-13 – “O you afflicted, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in fair colors – in antimony [to enhance their brilliance] – and lay your foundations with sapphires. And I will make your windows and pinnacles of [sparkling] agates or rubies, and your gates of [shining] carbuncles, and all of the walls of your enclosures of precious stones. And all your [spiritual] children shall be disciples – taught of the Lord [and obedience to His will]; and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.”
This is the same imagery of the city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven in Rev. 21:19-21. This city is of those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life. It signifies their eternal comfort. But what does it mean to be comforted? It’s a synonym for salvation. It means to be saved. The Hebrew word carries with it the idea of being sorry, repenting of one’s own doing, suffering grief and because of this comfort or compassion, one being moved to pity, follows. (B-D-B, p. 637) In this case it’s God who is moved to pity those who are brokenhearted and spiritually at the end of their rope. They cannot operate on their own strength for they have none and are crying out to him in despair.
Those who inwardly have humbled their heart, who are broken hearted for their lack of spiritual strength. They have allowed God to rule and reign and instead of ashes or mourning or repentance laid upon the head, he brings a diadem to adorn the head. These are the people that he is going to save, comfort, make complete. These are the ones over whom God is ruling now.