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 …
Matt Smethurst is managing editor of The Gospel Coalition. He is on Twitter @MattSmethurst.