Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
In this world, life brings many opportunities to mourn, to grieve. Loss of a loved one, whether a person or a pet. Loss of a prized possession, a family heirloom - the one that was entrusted to you.
Loss of a dear friend, over some stupid argument.
Loss when your favorite team loses a game, even. I'm a Brooklyn Dodger, Philadelphia Phillie, Philadelphia Eagles fan - trust me - I know a lot about loss in this instance!
Loss of a job, whether you quit or were fired - great expectations flushed down the drain of disappointment. Loss of power, just when that program you've always wanted to watch comes on, or when you're in the middle of doing something where electricity is needed. Loss of sick days and benefits due to a restructuring of the company. Loss of recognition, when you don't get noticed. Loss of weight . . .
Well, depending . . . that one isn't so bad.
As you can see, the list could go on and on. So, what is Jesus talking about? As always, let us turn to our friend, the Greek language. To "mourn" in the Greek is "pentheo" which means "to lament".
Lament over what? According to Webster's Complete Unabridged Dictionary, a "mourner" is a person who professes repentance for sins, with the desire for salvation.
So, to mourn in this fashion - according to the Bible - is to experience another desirable result - comfort - when sin is confessed and salvation is come!
Again, the Greek. The word "comfort" is "parakaleo". Before we look at the entire word, let's break it down into little tasty morsels: "para" means to come beside, and "kaleo" means to call, or called one.
"Kaleo" comes from "kletos", which means to be sent from God with invitation.
Putting it altogether, "parakaleo" means to get encouragement, exhortation, by the coming alongside of the invited (called, sent) guest. In other Greek texts, the word for the Holy Spirit is "parakletos", which means comforter. He is the invited guest, the invited Spirit, sent by God at our conversion. He is sent by God, He is the promise of God, He is the Breath of God, the Teacher from God. The Sanctifier - all ours at our turning from the World - the turning from all our sins.
Think of it this way - your sins and the way of the world has left you cold.
You're freezing, you're uncomfortable. You need warmth. So, you turn (repent) of your sins and ask God (Jesus) for a blanket. He gives what is much more than a blanket - He gives you a Comforter. The Comforter wraps around you, restoring warmth, and life to your body and soul.
Read and listen with new eyes and ears to Luke 11:13:
How much more will your heavenly Father give (kletos - call, send) the Holy Spirit (parakletos - comforter, teacher, instructor, breath of God, sanctifier) to those who ask (kaleo - invite) him (in).
Now, with new understanding, let's turn again to Matthew 5:4 and read into what we've been taught.
Blessed are those who lament over their sins, confess (agree with Me) their sins, turn from their sins, and turn to Me.
For they get with their invitation of Me - encouragement, exhortation, new breath in their souls, a correction of bad behavior, a true Teacher in the Word of God, warmth from the chill of death, and one that will keep your commitment to Me, the Parakletos, not for comfort in this world, but peace and eternal life with Me!
Finally, our Lord wants to show us two men, two attitudes, and two results in Luke 18:9-14:
And, He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: Two men went up to the temple to pray - one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: "God, I thank you that I am not like other people - swindlers, unjust adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all I get!"
But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!"
I tell you, this man went to his house justified (comforted) rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted!'
How do you read? What do you think?