Sermon for Epiphany 4 – 1.29.23

+ 4th Sunday after the Epiphany – January 29th, 2023 +

Series A: Micah 6:1-8; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA


“Comforted in Christ”


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


Scripture is full of people who mourn. Jacob mourned when he thought his son Joseph had been killed. David mourned the death of his firstborn son; he mourned his sin with Bathsheba, and the betrayal of his own son Absalom. Job mourned his suffering. The psalms are full of mourning, lament. “I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” Solomon writes, “There is a time to mourn.” Jesus mourned at the death of Lazarus.


Anyone who lives in this fallen world will mourn.


In the opening to his sermon on the mount, in the beatitudes, Jesus says, Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”


The beatitudes are so familiar that sometimes we forget to take the time to slow down, ponder the meaning and weight of Jesus’ words. When you do that, you begin to see how odd Jesus’ words sound at first, how opposite they are from everything that we think we know.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


“Really?” we think. What is so blessed about mourning? That doesn’t sound like a blessing. This is not the way sinful, fallen man thinks or talks. It’s more like this: “If God really loved me he’d want me to be happy; and if he wanted me to be happy he’d let me do whatever I want, because whatever I want, is what will make me happy.” In the end, what we often call happiness is really just selfishness, pride, and idolatry in disguise.


C.S. Lewis was right when he observed that…all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy…God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.


We fall into this trap as well, don’t we. Especially when we look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word. How tempting it is to believe the lie that Christians must always be happy, and have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in our hearts. That’s not what our Lord says in Scripture. Yes, there is joy in life and joy in Christ. But don’t mistake the feeling of happiness for the sure foundation of Christ’s promises that endure no matter what our feelings may be. Remember, Jesus promises his disciples, and us, that in this world we will have trouble. We will mourn.


What is it that you mourn today?


Is it a recent diagnosis or constant disease you are battling in your body, mind, or spirit? Is it wave upon wave of grief for a friend, loved one, or fellow brother or sister in Christ? Is it the empty chair at your dining room table or friendship that used to be? Is it a family relationship that is strained or silent or broken? Is it your own guilt and shame that hounds you like St. Paul so that you lament that “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”


For all of this and more, this is why Jesus speaks this beatitude.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.


When we look for ourselves, all we find in the long run is only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But when we look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.


No matter what the world says, or how it rages and seethes with hatred towards you and Christ…no matter what lies the devil whispers in your ears. No matter what your sinful flesh tries to tell you, you are blessed. Not because you are happy all the time or not. It has nothing to do with your feelings and everything to do with Jesus’ promise. You are blessed because he promises. You are blessed in him who mourned and lamented our sinfulness and came to do something about it. He came to give you comfort by taking all that we mourn upon himself.


Listen to this beatitude again, only this time with a different translation than we’re used to…”The people who are mourning are blessed, because they will be comforted.”


Jesus’ beatitudes are full of good news and promise for you, his people who mourn. Jesus promises that even though you mourn, even though this world is so often full of wickedness, sin and evil, that even in the midst of your mourning, you will be comforted. It’s a sure and certain promise as sure and certain as Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.


Even though Jesus spoke this beatitude at the beginning of his ministry, you can hear it echo all the way down to his death on Good Friday for you. Blessed are you who mourn – as his disciples and his mother and the women at his cross and tomb did. For you will be comforted. That comfort Jesus promised came three days later on that first Easter Sunday morning. Christ is not here, he is risen, just as he said.


You are blessed in his word which brings the comfort we so desperately need. You are blessed in the water of your baptism where you are brought into the comfort giving life and death and resurrection of Jesus. You are blessed in and receive eternal comfort even as you mourn here and now in Jesus’ body and blood for you. You are blessed in the peace of Jesus which declares to you: go in peace, your sins are forgiven.


Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning. You are blessed in Jesus crucified and risen for you.


As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. For “The Last Enemy has been destroyed.” And along with sin, death, and the devil, goes our mourning and all that we lament.


Now we see in part, soon we shall see it in full. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again…now and forever you are comforted in Christ.


Blessed are those who mourn, for you shall be comforted.


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977