The word for “mourn” in Matthew 5:4 is the Greek word “pentheo”. It is translated “filled with grief”.
The origin of the Greek word used here is one of nine Greek words used in the New Testament to express grief and sorrow. This is the harshest of those nine. It is to grieve with a grief which so takes possession of the whole being that it cannot be hidden. As a follower of Christ, we are made aware of the great gift of salvation we have received combined with the knowledge of our own unworthiness. Our deep sorrow is a godly sorrow that results in genuine repentance.
Our sins, both of commission and omission, are what produce a sincere daily grief if our hearts are tender. In gradual maturity of faith we becoming increasingly aware of our own depravity, of our sinful nature that is so contrary to what God would want of us, and the recognition of this sin causes us to move closer to God – longing for His forgiveness.
Godly sorrow leads to repentance and earnestness, eagerness, indignation, alarm, concern and readiness to see justice done. It brings the mourner closer to God. If we mourn over our sin that leads us away from God, what does the Beatitude tell us will be our reward?
To be comforted means to “come along side”. In our sorrow we are educated for eternity, and when we are mourning, we know without a doubt (since Jesus said it was true) that we will be comforted.
We are told we will be blessed when we are meek. How does the term “meek” hit you? Do you think of someone shy and reluctant? This is not the meaning Jesus gave when he told the disciples this third Beatitude. He was talking about a position before God. Meekness is produced as the believer looks at God and then at himself/herself. It is a surrendered and realistic recognition of our proper place before God. It does not in any way suggest weakness, but truly sees the mighty greatness of God.
To be meek means to fully recognize that “this is best”. It is a recognition that our sovereign God who created all and holds our lives in His hand is the Holy God of the universe. Saying that this is best, means our faith declares that God will work all things out for good for those who trust Him. (Romans 8:28). A meek person is reverent and humble before God, and therefore reaches out to others with gentleness and kindness.
So, we define meekness as: a surrendered recognition of our proper place before God.
The person who keeps eternity’s values in view, is one who knows who he/she is before God. It seems clear as we look at the progression of the first three Beatitudes that we are following a strong progression of maturity of faith, doesn’t it?
Excerpts from Learning to Live with Eternity’s Values in View Curriculum