Mourn • Devotion #1: What do you mourn?

Recently my two sons have taken up playing with blocks, more specifically making giant robots with their “Mega Blocks.” So naturally, I was recruited as the head architect for most of these builds. The one area I have put the most emphasis on teaching them is ensuring that all the blocks are fitting together, and ensuring each section of blocks helps the whole structure’s sturdiness. Ensuring that each block helps lock another block into place allows one to make a pretty sturdy robot.

Understanding the Bible is a lot like understanding how to build giant robots, each block gets its strength from the blocks with which it is connected. The same can be seen in the Sermon on the Mount, and specifically for us, within the Beatitudes. Jesus’ first statement was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Hopefully, last week’s lesson was a blessing for you, but the overall focal point on Jesus’ statement there was that those who are poor in spirit, or spiritually bankrupt, will receive the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ revolutionary teaching to a group that God’s kingdom is there for those who are void of religiosity was mind-boggling. It was a major reinforcement that our works are not the thing that gets us to Heaven.

This brings us to Jesus’ second statement, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). I am all for the ability to pull this verse out and discuss the truth found that God brings comfort to those who are mourning a tragedy in their life, but I feel Jesus is linking these two ideas more than them just remaining separate truths. In the Beatitude before this one, Jesus discussed the idea of being spiritually poor, this is a life that is ruled by sin. When Jesus says those who mourn will be comforted, He is teaching more than just comfort from tragic events. In the original language, the Greek word used for mourn (pentheo)is closely linked to a deep degree of mourning over our sinful nature. “Pentheo” can be used in the same aspect as a lament. It is no coincidence that we have an entire book of the Bible called Lamentations. Jesus here is telling us that those who have great grief over their fallen state before God will be comforted.

We should come to a point where we see our sin and we lament over it. There is a point in our lives when we should see the toxic nature of our disobedience towards our Creator and mourn over the effects and damage that has been caused. However, Jesus does not want to leave us in a place of lamenting over the ungodly aspects of our life, Jesus wants to bring us to a place of being comforted by Him. Paul, a man who was the reason for Christians being murdered, wrote, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Our mourning over our sin should lead us to a place of repentance which then leads us to the One who comforts us.

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