Blessed Are Those Who Mourn — Matthew 5:4

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." This article explain what it means to mourn and what it means to be comforted.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn — Matthew 5:4
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Review of Matthew 5:3

By way of review from our devotional in Matthew 5:3, the beatitudes are not formulas to be followed for happiness. Rather, it is our Lord Jesus’s description of His disciples, all of them. All disciples of Christ are to display all of these characteristics.

None of these descriptions are natural tendencies. The order of the Beatitudes are sequential and purposeful. We learned from Matthew 5:3 that the poor in spirit will possess the kingdom of heaven.

We learned that "blessed" (μακάριος) means more than just being happy. It means spiritual “bliss.” It refers to a spiritual well-being of a person approved by God.

Jesus denotes Peter as blessed when he said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 16:17)

1. What Does "Those Who Mourn" Mean?

Blessed are those who mourn. (v.4a)

  • "Those who mourn" is translated from the Greek verb πενθέω. This verb describes the experience sadness as the result of some condition or circumstance. ‘be sad, grieve, mourn’ [BDAG]

Jesus's teaching is such a stark contrast to the that of the world which avoids mourning at all costs. The world says, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

Emotions of Jesus (M-Jones 60)

  • Jesus expressed many human emotions.
  • He was angry. He suffered.
  • But in the four Gospels, we have no record that Jesus ever laughed.
  • Rather, Jesus expresses sadness. He is a “man of sorrows.”
  • Jesus appeared older than his stated age. (John 8:57)

Mourning Is Spiritual.

  • Spiritual mourning is grieving over sin, not circumstances.

A. We mourn for personal sin.

  • We mourn over our personal wickedness and sinful condition.
  • Having recognized our spiritual bankrupt state, being "poor in spirit", we mourn because we long for God's forgiveness, healing, restoration, and comfort.

B. We mourn for corporate sin.

  • We mourn the sins of others. (Matt 23:37 - unrepentant Jews)
  • We mourn over sin’s consequences. (John 11:35 - Lazarus’ grave)
  • We mourn over the failure of all mankind to give proper glory to God.

3. What Does "They Shall Be Comforted" Mean?

for they shall be comforted. (v.4b)

  • "for they shall be comforted" comes from the Greek verb παρακαλέω. This verb means to instill someone with courage or cheer, comfort, encourage, cheer up. [BDAG]
  • While "theirs is the kingdom of heaven" is in the present tense, "they shall be comforted" is in the future tense, and it is passive (not active).

What we see here is that spiritual mourning precedes God’s comfort. It is implied that those who mourn will be comforted by God himself.

  • Human comfort is limited and usually cannot fully satisfy.
  • God’s comfort is perfect, complete, and truly satisfies.

A. There is the immediate comfort of salvation.

The man with godly sorrowful who mourns over his sin will repent through the work of the Holy Spirit and be converted and saved.

B. There is the imminent comfort that accompanies future hope.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18)

4. Conclusion

A. The Christian is a person who mourns.

  • He is sorrowful, but not sullen or morose.
  • He is serious and sober-minded.
  • He looks at life seriously, spiritually, and he sees the reality of sin and its effects.

B. Those who mourns are truly blessed, for they are comforted by God.

  • God’s comfort is immediate in salvation.
  • God’s comfort is imminent in our anticipation of future glory.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfect of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2 LSB)