“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

When we talk about mourning we are not talking about being upset or being sad about a situation. The word used here for mourn in the Greek is an intense mourning. It is the same kind of mourning that Jacob felt when he thought that he had lost his son Joseph. As we read in Genesis, “So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him.” (Genesis 37:34-35) It is a bitter sorrow, it seems that this mourning will have no end, there will be no relief or satisfaction from it, and peace will never return to the soul. It is the same word that the prophet Isaiah used when he prophesied of the coming Messiah. “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus came out of His love for mankind and yet He was rejected by them.

It is the intense sorrow that caused Jesus to weep and wail over Jerusalem when He approached the city the week of His passion. “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it.” (Luke 19:41) Jesus stood and looked over the city filled with His people, people that He loved and soon would willingly die for that they could be restored to an eternal fellowship with His Heavenly Father knowing that they would reject Him and crucify Him. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37) Yet knowing of their rejection He loved them and willingly went to the cross to save them. This is the love that Jesus, the Son of God, has for the people, not only in His day but for all souls that would live in this world. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

There are three ways then for us to look at the meaning of the word mourning in our text. One as we see in Jacob the loss of one who was dear and greatly loved. For a spouse it could be the loss of their husband or wife. It is gut wrenching to lose your soulmate, your partner in life, your better half and the one to whom you have been joined with in life’s journey. What truth could comfort a heart that has been torn in half by such a loss? For the parent it could be the loss of a child or for the sibling the loss of a brother or sister. It could be the loss of a family member or close friend. There seems to be no way to fill the whole that has been left behind.

It is the same kind of mourning that we as Christians should have for those who are outside of the fold of the Savior. The ones who are lost in worldly living without a vision of the Heavenly home that the Lord has prepared for them. Those who do not have a relationship with God their Creator through His Son Jesus Christ. We as Christians are to have an undying love for the ones who are in need of our Savior. “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

Our sorrow and suffering for a lost loved one or a lost soul facing eternity without the love of God will also develop a Christian character of compassion within us. For we are commanded to love our neighbor as we love our self. Knowing the truth we would not allow ourselves a destination towards the pit. Having God’s love in us we can neither allow a neighbor to leave this world without the security of a Savior to be their advocate before the judgement seat. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

We do not love this world as what is in comparison to the citizenship that we have in the Kingdom of Heaven for which we are ambassadors? We are to mourn for the world as Jesus did in Matthew 23:37. Most time it is in helplessness as we cannot save even one soul from the wrath of God to come. But this is not within our capability, no man can save a spirit from the path of destruction that it is traveling on. Only Jesus saves. We are sowers of His Word in the prayer that it will penetrate into the darkened heart and enlighten it. We plant the seeds of truth, we water it with words of love, but God causes the growth. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7) It is our mission the ministry of reconciliation bringing the saving knowledge of Christ to all who will hear and believe. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

Personally for us we must mourn over our own sinful state. No matter how good we think we are in comparison to a holy and righteous God we fall far short from His glory. This is a grave concern to us. Knowing our state in His light should cause us to mourn, leading to confession and driving our repentance. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10) Realizing our own spiritual poverty creates in us the awareness of our fallen state and this grieves our countenance and causes us to mourn.

We have this promise from our Master that we will be comforted. Jesus comforts us in that He is faithful and true and will always forgive us of our confessed sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Because we claim, believe, and trust the promises of our Lord and Savior we have an inheritance beyond the imagination of any man. We have a home that has been prepared just for us by the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. It is Eternal as it will never be taken away or lost. For it is built upon the rock of His truth and shall never fail. It is there waiting for us at the proper time. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. “And you know the way where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, January 17, 2016

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