Class 3: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” | Malcolm Cox

Tuesday Teaching Tip 307 | The Beatitudes and Effective Communication: Lessons for Preachers and Teachers | “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” | Malcolm Cox

What would it be like to preach and teach through the filter of the beatitudes? What would the impact be on us as speakers and our congregations as listeners? Today, we will look at the second beatitude:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NIV11)

The second beatitude follows naturally from the first one: ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 NIV11)

1. The Meaning in the context of the Gospel

The Pharisees were mourning over the Roman domination, and perhaps over the sins of Israel, but not their own sin.

Spiritually healthy people of the Old Testament days wept when God was dishonoured.

“Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.” (Psalm 119:136 NIV11)

God noticed and applauded those whose hearts were grieved like his.

– ““Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”” (Ezekiel 9:4 NIV11)

Paul had the same heart.

“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Philippians 3:18 NIV11)

“So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31 NIV11)

As John Stott said in his book ‘Christian Counterculture’,

“Jesus wept over the sins of others, over their bitter consequences in judgement and death, and over the impenitent city which would not receive him. We, too, should weep over the evil in the world, as did the godly men of biblical times.”

Many of the people lifted up for mention in the Gospels were those who mourned over their sin. The sample of the ‘sinful woman’ stands out as she cries tears over the feet of Jesus as the Pharisee looks on tutting at her impious behaviour (Luke 7:36-50). The mourner goes home at peace with themselves and their God.

2. The Meaning for a preacher/teacher

  • Mourn in private with God. Mourn over the state of the world, God’s pain, your own pain, the congregation’s pain. Jesus wept, so can we.
  • Mourn over what it would mean for people to ignore the text and its message.
  • Teach with soberness. Allow for lament.

‘Any notion of prayer that excludes praise ignores the glory of God and the possibilities for happiness in the world; a notion of prayer that excludes lament disregards the unredeemed state of the world, the judgement of God, and his despair about the world. A triumph of praise over lament obscures God’s capacity to suffer and his acts of judgement. A triumph of lament over praise turns lament into embittered blasphemy.’ Eva Harasta; Brian Brock. Evoking Lament: A Theological Discussion. Kindle Edition.

  • Recognise the pain, doubt and fear in the congregation. Even if it is hidden, it is there. Find out what is troubling people at the moment. Trauma is real.
  • Mourn, but end with hope. One of the Messiah’s jobs was to be ‘the Comforter’ who would ‘bind up the brokenhearted’ – Is 61:1, 40:1.

Next week we will get into the third Beatitude, but for today I’d like to know what you think. How can we preach and teach in a way that is informed by the second beatitude?

What kinds of questions does this bring to your mind regarding preaching and teaching? Why not pray over the beatitudes, asking God to reveal how they can flavour your speaking? If God reveals anything to you, please drop me a line.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

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