Real comfort for grieving people

The second beatitude—or congratulation—says the people to be congratulated are those who are mourning. They will be comforted.

Perhaps we are grieving our own failure. We may be grieving over what loved ones are doing. We may be grieving as we see our culture moving from things that are helpful to things that self-destruct.

If we think we are the answer to the problem, we have not understood how deep the problem is. If we merely complain, or wish things hadn’t gone wrong, nothing changes.

Our problems are the necessary revelation of a disease that’s deep and deadly. There is only one Saviour.

We need to learn to grieve. It’s actually God’s gift to us (Zechariah 12:10).                                                                         

This is not being morbid or introspective. It’s acknowledging that our sins, and the sins that happen to or around us are real and have profound results.

Jesus says those who choose to grieve rather than evade reality will be comforted. Perhaps he has in mind what he says a few chapters after this one. ‘Come to me all you who are weary and weighed down. I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:29).

Jesus will have to deal with the real causes of the problem in us if he is going to bring us any relief. It will cost him his life to bring the help that is needed.

Jesus tells us not to be troubled (John 14:1, 27). But then, he has already said that said that his own heart is deeply troubled (John 12:27-33). He is contemplating the death where he will bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. The Lord will lay on him all our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6).

This is the comfort Jesus is promising when he says the grieving ones are to be congratulated. Not only do we have someone to deal with our sins. We have a message and a hope to bring to the whole world.

And of course, we will be part of the new world Christ is making by trusting him. That’s part of the comfort. What happens when Jesus deals with our grief is real, and lasting.

It will be good to look at the rest of these beatitudes one by one. But I hope, already, that we are seeing that, by sending Jesus to us, God is taking charge and putting things right. And he shows us how to be part of this kingdom, how to be on ‘the right side of history’, and so, to be congratulated.

Jesus is speaking to us, right to where we are, and promising a real and wonderful future. And it’s beginning now.