Yesterday we looked at the first step that Jesus gives in order to attain happiness. I don’t know if you realized it, but these steps are also the steps to salvation. This first step is being poor in spirit. As I mentioned yesterday, being poor in spirit is the effect of grasping the reality of our sin. This first step is the realization that we are in need of a savior. The second step, which we will look at today is mourning.
Mourning is an emotional reaction to something. We cannot force an emotional reaction, it is instead something that happens due to situations in our lives. One cannot make themselves happy, sad, mad or glad, these emotions come upon us due to the condition of our heart and the situations in which we find ourselves. Since we cannot force ourselves to mourn, this second step of mourning is impossible without the first step of being poor in spirit. If we are not poor in spirit (facing the reality of our sin before a righteous God) we will not begin to mourn, my friends it is, in fact, impossible to do so. So Jesus tells us that those who mourn over their sin are the ones who will be blessed. This second step is the second step toward salvation, which is true happiness.
The Greek language has nine different words for our English word mourn. In Greek, each of these words are used in different situations and they vary in the extent of mourning. One would not use the same word to mourn over the loss of their favorite football team as they would to mourn over a commercial airliner that had crashed and taken the lives of hundreds of people. The word used for mourn in these verses is the one that depicts the most intense kind of mourning. One Biblical scholar wrote that this type of mourning in the original language would be as one who mourns over the death of a child. A person who finds themselves in a place of that kind of mourning is someone who truly realizes how desperately lost we are with out Christ. In Matthew chapter seven Jesus says “many will come to me in that day and say ‘lord, lord’; and I will say to them depart from me for I never knew you.” I believe that the ones who are being talked about in Matthew chapter seven are the ones who have supposedly come to Christ, but have come in their own righteousness. Jesus also tells the parable of the wedding feast in which all were invited to come. At first glance this parable seems to be terrible and dreadful. It seems as though the master of the house, who illustrates God, was a vengeful, uncaring and angry king. When the feast had begun the master of the house noticed that there was one there that did not have the appropriate apparel for the occasion. The master then called him out and had him cast out. What we need to understand about this parable is that in that time period in the East, a rich master or a king provided wedding garments for their guests. So the master of the house did not decide to pick on the one poor person at the feast; he instead had given freely to all who attended the clothing that was needed. This man, wearing inappropriate clothing, had rejected the clothing of the king. Clothing that was given freely to him in order that he may freely attend the great banquet with the king and his court. This man was not cast out because he did not fit in, or that he could not afford good clothing; he was, instead cast out because he decided that what he had was good enough. With that thought he rejected the clothing of the king.
Being poor in spirit, which allows us to mourn, causes us to realize that the clothing that we have will not due in the presence of the king. When we grasp the majesty of His garments and that of His guests we realize that we need to take off our righteousness and put on the righteousness afforded by the king. This righteousness was freely given to all who will don it by the Son of the great King, Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow we will look at the third step that leads to happiness which is meekness; once again it is impossible to reach this third step without the first two.