In this episode, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about the first two blessings Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted'” (Matthew 5:1-4).
But how can one be blessed while being poor in spirit or in mourning?
Ellen White gives us an insight in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, saying, “He who feels whole, who thinks that he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition, does not seek to become a partaker of the grace and righteousness of Christ. Pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of such a person…They feel that they are full; therefore, they go away empty. Those who know that they cannot possibly save themselves, or of themselves do any righteous action, are the ones who appreciate the help that Christ can bestow. They are the poor in spirit, whom He declares to be blessed…Whom Christ pardons, He first makes penitent, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to convince of sin” (page 7).
So, by mentioning the “poor in spirit,” Jesus refers to those who feel the need of Him and understand that there is nothing good in and of themselves. This is in contrast to those who claim, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” but do not realize they are actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
For these self-absorbed, self-sufficient people, Jesus says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (verse 18).
Indeed, the poor in spirit are blessed. When we realize our need of God and confess it to Him, He will pour out His blessings upon us and the kingdom of heaven will be ours.
What about “those who mourn”?
Ellen White says in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing that “the mourning here brought to view is true heart sorrow for sin…as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfulness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion…He is separated from God by a gulf of sin that is broad and black and deep, and he mourns in brokenness of heart.” It is “such mourning” that “shall be comforted” (pages 9 and 10).
With this, we can see that God reveals to us our guilt so we can come to Him, confess our sins, and surrender our burdens at the foot of the cross. Then, we shall be comforted.
Ellen White continues on Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, “To every stricken one, Jesus comes with the ministry of healing. The life of bereavement, pain, and suffering may be brightened by precious revealings of His presence. God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials…We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace” (page 12).
To learn more about this topic, read Ellen White’s book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and visit https://egwwritings.org/.