Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
These precious words of Jesus’ second beatitude—“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4)—are delivered against the backdrop of Isaiah 61. The prophet anticipates an age in which God’s Suffering Servant would bring comfort to God’s exiled people: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to … comfort all who mourn” (Isa. 61:1–2; see also 40:1).
Seven centuries later, Isaiah’s promise crystallized into reality as a day laborer from Nazareth unfolded a scroll and launched His public ministry (Luke 4:14–21).In the first beatitude, Jesus blesses “the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3)—those who acknowledge their moral bankruptcy. He then elaborates further, since it’s possible to acknowledge moral bankruptcy (v. 3) without mourning it (v. 4).