Meekness and Mourning


Meekness and Mourning
Matthew 5:4–5 “Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the
earth” (vv. 4–5).

Some translators render the Greek term for blessing
(makarios) as “happy,” but
this is not entirely accurate. Of course,
happiness is often linked to
blessing, but God’s favor brings far more than
mere happiness. To be blessed
by our Creator is to find His approval. God
claims us as His child when He
blesses us.

Jesus has said our Father
approves of the poor in spirit — those who know
their need for divine
forgiveness (Matt. 5:3). This makes sense, for we are
God’s people only if we
come to the end of ourselves and turn to Him alone for
salvation (Isa.
66:1–2; Luke 18:9–14; 1 John 1:8–9). In today’s passage, our
Savior declares
“blessed” those who mourn and those who are meek (Matt.

think verse 4 refers to any mourner, but the context renders this
impossible. As the note in The Reformation Study Bible indicates, the
beatitude develops the first. Jesus describes here mourning over sin
and its
effect on the world. Believers feel sorrow for the ways they have
offended God
(Ps. 51:4) and for the ruin that mankind’s evil has brought to
this earth
(Dan. 9:1–19). Even Jesus weeps for Jerusalem because of what her
sin brings
upon her (Luke 19:41–44). Mourning is not constant despair or low
these manifest a preoccupation with the self. True mourning over
sin is
focused Godward and finds comfort there, since the holiness of the
Lord that
reveals our desperation is joined with His grace, which offers
forgiveness in
the Gospel.

Christ also tells us God’s blessing, or
approval, comes to the meek (Matt.
5:5). John Calvin offers the best
description of meek people in his
commentary. They are “persons of mild and
gentle dispositions, who are not
easily provoked by injuries, who are not
ready to take offense, but are
prepared to endure anything rather than do the
like actions to wicked men.”
Meek people do not lack assertiveness, nor are
they wishy-washy. Moses was
meek (Num. 12:3), but he was not weak or
cowardly. Being meek means being
aware of our limitations, enabling us to be
gentle and good to others (James
3:13–18). When we are meek we understand
that we are just as guilty before God
as the next person, and we therefore
find it difficult to hold grudges against
those who offend us.

deo: Living before the face of
Meekness rejects any thought
of self-sufficiency. It is antithetical to our
aggressive, dog-eat-dog world
that teaches people never to be satisfied with
what they have and therefore
to pursue more and more “stuff,” even if it means
they lack the time to enjoy
it. The meek inherit the earth because they have
not seized their
inheritance; they are content with God’s provision. What does
your attitude
towards your “stuff” say about your meekness?

For further

Psalm 37

The Bible in a year:

Numbers 2–3

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