In Chapter 2 of The End of Me, Kyle Idleman takes a closer look at the context for the Sermon on the Mount, noting the word Matthew uses for crowd really means “a large group of unidentified people.” Over Kyle’s years as a public speaker, he has learned something about large groups of unidentified people: they are crammed with stories of heartache and shattered dreams. Pastor Idleman quips even a convention of department-store Santas would serve as a gathering of sad stories.
Jesus spoke the words “blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4) in a first-century age of infant mortality, short life spans, hunger, disease, and national humiliation. A significant percentage of Jesus’ audience on that mountain were “those who mourn.” As Pastor Idleman adds, no one in the audience stepped forward to testify, “Yes sir! Mourning rules!”
Kyle previously has stated that Jesus was speaking in paradoxes, but it seems like “blessed are those who mourn” crosses the line from paradox territory to Ludicrous-ville or Contradiction-land. How can the sad possibly be happy?
A nice start, Kyle offers, would be to come to an understanding of what Jesus is thinking when He uses the word mourn. In the next blog Kyle discusses mourning the true circumstances of life, defined as “dream busters that awaken us at the worst time.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses bring you the greatest comfort following your vocation loss? Please share.
Coming Monday: the Thanksgiving Short Meditation, “Thanksliving”
Tomorrow’s blog: “Blessing comes from the inside”