They Will Be Comforted
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. The Lord has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to tell the captives they are free and prisoners they are released.” Isaiah 61:
As Jesus taught about who would be blessed in the new heaven on earth, he built each characteristic, one upon the other, in progressive order.
“Godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret.” 1 Corinthians 7:10
Jesus used an analogy to speak of why he chose to eat with those whom first century society considered the lowly (tax collectors and sinners).
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
In the above analogy, Jesus compares healthy people to those people who think they are righteous (but really not). He compares those who are sick to those who know they are sinners. The Scripture he quotes is from Hosea 6:6 – “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me, more than I want burnt offerings.”
Jesus came to comfort us, to let us know that he reaches out to us and invites us into his family. Even though we sin, even though we mourn that we have made mistakes – sometimes serious ones – he came to take our sins upon himself and wash us clean.
After I came to the Lord, I carried guilt and shame for many years. Before I grew to know Him, I was sure that in certain circumstances, I was being punished for past sins. I was convinced that when my prayers weren’t answered, it was because I had done unforgivable things.
I knew the sins I had committed. I mourned and wept in private for years. I know in my attempt to do the right thing and find my way, I hurt other brothers and sisters in Christ. I struggled. I fell. I hid, convinced I would never be worthy of His forgiveness.
Now that I’ve opened my heart and come to know Him, nurture my love for Him, learn the words of Jesus and continue to mature in my understanding of what they mean, I realize that His gift of grace comes with no conditions. There is no punishment, no judgment, no condemnation. I recognize He answers prayer in a way that’s best for me, in His own time.
He comforts me daily through His word and through those He has chosen to use as vessels for His love, grace and light. He gives me peace beyond comprehension in the beauty of the mundane. He speaks to me through words of Scripture, a devotional, a song, a friend, or a stranger. How do I know His voice? Because He is my Shepherd.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
When I surrender to mourning with Him, admit I have no strength but His, and accept His unrecompensable gift of grace, I allow myself the ceaseless comfort of his constant presence, his unyielding faithfulness and his everlasting love.
Each time I feel completely void and empty on this journey, I get authentic with God. I weep to Him and He comforts me. He takes away my sorrow and fills me with His daily bread and living water; He sustains me. He binds up my heart just as He said He came to do.
I pray wherever you are on your journey, you allow Him to comfort you. “For everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) You are in good company.
Remember what Jesus told us.
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1
Next Week: God Loves the Humble