for they will be comforted. That’s the second beatitude, the second announcement of blessing.
There are crowds and crowds of people-pharisees, sadducees, zealots, gentiles, herodians-it’s just a mish-mash of society.
Jesus takes the time, as he was accustomed to doing, and began teaching the multitudes. Instead of giving new laws, he announces blessing.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who not only do not deserve the blessing of God, but those who do things to deserve His cursing. To those people God has given the kingdom of heaven; He has invited these people to his party.
Now, blessed are those who mourn. How does this look as an announcement of blessing? If it’s a new law, then that tells me that I need to go out and cry, and if i cry loud enough, then God will hear me. If I cry and cry and cry, then I can seek out God’s comfort. This then, is how we earn the comfort of God.
But what if it’s not something I earn. What if Jesus is saying to me, ‘Matt, life is hard, and there is tragedy, and there is sorrow, and there is injustice, and I am there. Wherever you go and find pain, I am there. Whenever life decides to beat on you, I am there.
I heard it said that each of the beatitudes is a paradox- seemingly opposite ideas that converge.
To me it was quite obvious that a loving God would surely comfort in time of mourning. That doesn’t seem paradoxical at all. What did it look like for the people to whom Jesus was speaking? The wealthy, the righteous, the outstanding people were the ones who had comfort. There were no worries for the tax collector who hoarded wealth, or the pharisee who claimed his salvation in his righteousness, but what about the regular jo-shmo?
I have also heard it said, “God does not console us by abolishing our solitude, but by entering into it, and sharing it with us.”
If comfort isn’t in the security of an earthly life, then it must be in the paradoxical life of a deity who became man. It must be in the death of purity on a shameful, sinful cross.
Our comfort is in the resurrection of Jesus, knowing that we have the blessing of God, that God is with us, joining us in the midst of our sorrow, and showing us the future glory He has planned for us.