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Have you observed one of the following scenarios?
A classmate sitting across the room who looks like they can barely hold it together?
A lady in church standing with her face buried in her hands during the song service?
The person sitting all by themselves in the mall who looks like they would dissolve into a puddle if someone were to ask them if everything was okay?
Sometimes when I see those people, I feel like someone (maybe me) should go up to them and ask, “Do you need a hug?” We all do from time to time. To all those who are hurting, Jesus Christ offers a very comforting word.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
A person who mourns is someone who is expressing grief or sorrow. This expression can be anything from a lump in the throat to all out wailing. People mourn in different ways. Some are comfortable doing it in public while others would prefer a more private setting. Regardless how we mourn, Jesus says we are blessed. That means we are in one of the best places we could possibly be. I will explain why that is in a moment, but first, let’s answer a question.
Why Do People Mourn?
I can think of three basic reasons why people express sorrow and grief.
Loss. The loss of a job would certainly be an occasion for mourning. A loved one dies and we mourn. An investment suddenly goes south and we lose everything would result in frustration and sorrow.
Lack. How many times have we seen pictures of mothers in foreign countries mourning because they didn’t have enough to feed their children? What about the man who can’t find a decent job because he lacks the necessary skills?
Oppression. Oppression refers to prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. An example of this would be a cruel governmental dictatorship that exacts heavy taxes from its citizens while offering them no benefits in return. What about living with an abusive spouse? Sounds like oppression to me. Bullying is another form of oppression that has gained lots of press in recent days.
All of these things, and probably more, are reasons why people mourn. Yet look at what Jesus says about the mourners.
They Shall Be Comforted
Jesus says those who mourn are in a really good place because they shall be comforted. What does He mean?
The most natural thing to do when you see someone mourning is to walk up beside them and put your arm around them. This simple gesture reassures the mourner that there is someone who sees them, someone who cares, and that they are not alone. It provides them with a sense of hope that just maybe everything will be okay.
That is exactly the picture of what Jesus is saying here. Those who mourn are positioned to receive a comforting word of reassurance from the King Himself. Why?
Because the Kingdom of God is all about restoration!
Look at what Jesus said in the synagogue in Nazareth in Luke 4.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16 – 21
Jesus came as the Anointed King of God’s Kingdom. One of His assignments was to announce that the things that caused people to mourn were coming to an end. A new day of restoration and second chances was breaking in. That’s what He referred to when He mentioned “the year of the Lord’s favor.” It was a reference to the year of Jubilee; a time when everyone got a fresh start. This is a comforting word for anyone who has known grief on any level.
Even if this wonderful comfort is not experienced during this lifetime, Jesus’ message also points to a Day yet to come. The Kingdom of God is both come and coming. One day Jesus will come again. One day there will be new heavens and a new earth. One day the fullness of God’s Kingdom will be experienced and justice will reign. In that Day, all things that make for mourning will be wiped away.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1 – 4
Do You Need a Hug?
Are you mourning today? Do you need a hug? Let these words from the King sink down into your ears. God’s restoration is available. He is the God of another chance. Plus there is a new day coming. All that you are experiencing right now that is causing you grief will come to an end. Come to the King with your tears. Let Him speak His words of comfort to you as you live in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.