I’m teaching a series right now at my church that has us working through the Beatitudes (or blessings) found in Matthew 5. I know you want to stop reading at this point, but don’t … something here will surprise you about one of these verses.
You know, the more I dig, the more I realize how such a seemingly boring bunch of words can actually match some of the incredible shift of theology I’m seeing happening right now. By that last point, I mean that in the last decade, there has been an enormous shift from morals and values in the traditional evangelical world to a redefining of such words … away from moral behavior to moral injustices, etc. Let me show you what I mean:
The second beatitude is simply 10 words … “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Is there anything that is seemingly more obvious than the meaning of these words of Jesus? To be fair, when reading it, it does seem to promise that if I am mourning the loss of a love
d one … or something that is deeply important to me … then God will comfort me. Yes … that’s what it looks like. And you know, I will take that to the bank when I’m in that position of pain. God will comfort me during those times.
But you know what’s incredibly interesting about this verse? The word used here as “comfort” is not the primary meaning of the word. Although the word “Mourn” to the listener of that day would strike the deepest kind of sadness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are mourning about a lost loved one. I mean, is that really the second beatitude? Is that really the second pivotal teaching of the entire three chapters of the sermon on the mount?
OK, let’s cut to the chase … if the word “Comfort” is not the primary definition of the Greek word here, what is the primary definition? Well … it is “A Call (to action).” Hmmmmmmm … a call to action? Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be called to action? That seems odd, doesn’t it. Unless you ask the question, “What are you mourning about?” Now this is my definition of this incredible teaching:
I think there is a call to action when we mourn, but not about the dead relative who died. Rather, I think that Jesus is saying this … “Blessed are those who mourn [about the incredible brokeness and injustices of this world], for they will be called to action.” Or, “Blessed are those who have a heart that beats to the same rhythm as my heart about this world … for when it does beat that way, they will be called to action.
Yikes! Think about it … doesn’t this flip this verse upside down? Instead of a comforting hug, it radically calls us to rise up and be the followers of Jesus in this world who serve and help those who can’t fight for themselves … it taps into very heart of Jesus! Does it not now resonate with the theological movements that we see transpiring right now?
When I first read this verse, I thought, “Geees, there isn’t much here but a feel-good assurance.” Instead, I see an aggressive call in this world to serve. Giddy-up.