From Revd Christopher Deakin


The Beatitudes: ‘Blessed are those who mourn’

The Beatitudes, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), present the values of the kingdom of God. In ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted’ (5:4), Jesus appears to be saying ‘Happy are the unhappy’!!

It’s not wrong for Christians to be sad or grieve, as we can still experience God’s blessing (‘blessed’). Jesus promises God’s comfort for our loss, mourning, pain and hurt. This is the work of the Holy Spirit into our lives. He is described as the ‘Comforter’ (John 14:16) ie ‘the one who comes alongside us to help’ (lit). He assures us of Jesus’ presence to share our sadness, make us aware of His love and strengthen us in our sorrows. Jesus has been in this place Himself, when He shed at the tomb of His close friend Lazarus (John 11:35).

There is also a godly grief which the Spirit brings into our lives, as we reflect on our messy lives. Peter wept bitterly after denying that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:75). He makes us aware of our spiritual poverty, including our failures and shortcomings when it comes to loving and serving God. The Holy Spirit is also alongside to assure us of God’s forgiveness and cleansing as God’s children (Romans 8:16).

The Spirit also helps us to share the Father’s broken heart for our suffering world and for the communities of which we are part. Jesus Himself wept over Jerusalem, because its inhabitants failed to see what was happening in their midst (Luke 19:41).

We can live under God’s blessing in sadness, as He is able to turn our tears to joy, even though our comfort will only truly be complete in heaven. ‘God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.’