This passage contains the famous “Sermon on the Mount” spoken by Jesus. But we have to go back to Matthew 4:23-25 to see who the crowd is to whom Jesus preached. They are the “multitudes” who had heard about the “healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” They all either need a miracle of healing themselves or know someone who does for whom nothing else has worked. They may even have carried someone with them hoping for healing from Jesus, as was often the case when people couldn’t get to Him by their own power. To this multitude with their various conditions and needs, Jesus spoke words of encouragement as He sat on the mountainside. They had other conditions than those for which they came to seek relief. It was those conditions that Jesus addressed as “He opened His mouth and taught them…” His speech is not just about what they should do or try to be. That is often the focus presented to us by those who attempt to explain the passage. But that’s not the entire dimension of Jesus’ concern. He sees those other conditions than illness among the hearers and addresses those with a view to getting them to realize that all their conditions don’t have to be changed, but that they should see the blessedness inherent in their circumstances that had gone unnoticed by them. The “beatitudes” as they are often called, provide a summary of sorts, or at least an important preface to Jesus’ approach to them. He describes several conditions, not all of which applied to every person present, but which He wanted them to see, not as needing change, as much as recognition. He wanted them to see the blessedness in each condition. He begins by saying the “poor in spirit” can be blessed. “Poor in spirit” surely describes some whom life has beaten down as a result of things that have happened to them, many things beyond their control. You know that person. You may be that person. Whoever is in that condition Jesus wants them to recognize that it is often those who because of their condition discover an offsetting blessing in “the kingdom of Heaven.” As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26ff “you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” No, they don’t think they need to seek the kingdom of Heaven. They have “heaven on earth” already. So, while you might be “poor in spirit” that very poverty may be leading you to seek a better and eternal blessedness. “Blessed are they that mourn.” No one enjoys mourning but surely some in the sound of Jesus’ voice on that mountain had recently lost a loved one or were already grieving in anticipation of such a loss. Jesus reminds them that mourning is a God given way of getting through the immediate and hurtful impact of grief. Without the ability and opportunity to mourn, we may never be able to work through the loss. One of the most miserable people I ever met was a woman where I preached many years ago whose 17 year old son had been taken from her through an automobile accident. Because of her grief and the ignorance of her family, she was sedated throughout the process of funeral and burial. Because she was not given the chance to mourn, she never got to the place of “comfort” of which Jesus spoke. Mourning is never pleasant and we might want to skip it, but since death is a part of the human condition, when we mourn we are working towards comfort. The more hope, the more comfort, of course. Sure, we should also mourn about our sins when we discover their sinfulness because that can lead us to repentance as we see so clearly in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians. However, Jesus’ message wasn’t just about that. In each of the beatitudes we have a repetition of the idea that unpleasant circumstances contain an all too often unseen blessedness. Jesus wanted them, and now us, to see that. Look at each of them and see how that message emerges.