“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
Years ago, I studied Biblical Greek. Seeing as I came into the first class still uncertain about the difference between an adverb and an adjective in English, I couldn’t make it very far without a tutor. So I got a tutor. And then I married him.
Now I wish that the fact that I married a man who went around
with an incredible upper lip (sorry, that’s all I thought about back then) – who went around winning Zondervan awards for his accomplishments in Greek meant that his accomplishments had vicariously rubbed off on me – but they didn’t. Consequently, I feel the need to confess that for the purpose of these posts, Strong’s Concordance is my friend, and I’m not extending far beyond him. Look! He can be your friend, too.
So with that out of the way, let’s break this down.
What does it mean to be blessed?
If we’re blessed when we mourn, and mourning means to grieve literally and figuratively anything that has come to an end – a life, a person, a relationship, a hope, a dream, an expectation – then what is the meaning of blessed?
Makarios, in Greek
from Makar, “happy“
root Mak-, “to become long, to become large.“
when God extends his benefits (extends the advantages that HE confers)
“Blessed describes a believer in enviable (fortunate) position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) – which literally EXTEND (make large/long) His grace (His benefits.)”
“This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord’s inbirthings of faith. Hence, faith (pístis) and blessed (makários) are closely associated (Ro 4:5-7,14:22,23; Rev 14:12,13).”
‘Blessed’ describes the believer who is receiving God’s provision.
‘Blessed’ means provided for.
an experience provided as a part of God’s grace
means to make large/long or extend
and so is an extension of grace, if you will
God takes all the Favor that he wishes to bestow on us and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s it out to meet our (present, past and future) circumstances; God takes all the benefits of Grace and e-x-t-e-n-d-s them to address and satisfy our unique, individual needs; God continues to stretch them out until they are beyond capacity, overflowing, exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
In the context of mourning, this single word “blessed” conveys a promise that God will absolutely meet every demand of our grief.
We are not blessed as a reward for suffering, like dogs being handed a treat. Jesus is not saying, “I hope you mourn, great job, here’s a bone!” It’s quite the opposite of that. These words of Jesus are an expression of love, of compassion and of provision. He is looking into our eyes and assuring us deeply that in the midst of the reality of our mourning, the grace of God will extend to actual, soul-filling comfort.
His grace expands, his presence expands, and our experience of God expands.
This is what it is to be blessed.
Wherever the Spirit says to go, He’s provided all that we need for the journey. We are safe to follow Him, even when the road leads straight into our hidden heart, straight into our grief.
This post is part of Survivor Songs, a 31-Day series. A full list of posts is found here.