Lesson Three: Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
Main idea: When we mourn over our sins, God gives us the comfort of salvation, the comfort of getting to spend all of forever with him.
- Read Scripture references, Psalm 51, Isaiah 61:1-3
- Gather: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; BEEATTITUDES poster; cheap band aids; tube socks; lots of rice; fabric or permanent makers
- Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. I don’t know about you, but I am too often desensitized to the horror of my own sin. I don’t grieve over it the way God does. This week, take time to really think about the sins in your life and view them the way God does. Ask for forgiveness, and find comfort in his salvation.
- Matthew 5:1-12
- Ephesians 2:1
- 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
- 1 John 1:9
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Game: Band Aid Relay
Before you play, ask the kids what they would do to help a friend who was hurt. After taking their answers, explain that one thing that can make a scrape feel better is to put a band aid on it. Band aids help us feel better when we are hurt. Divide the class into two or three teams, depending on the size of your class. Line the teams up along one side of the room. At the other side of the room, lay out band aids. (You may want to unwrap them for younger kids.) The object of the game is to be the first team with band aids on every team member. To play, the first child from each team will run across the room, grab a band aid, and adhere it to the next person in line. Place the band aids on the back of hands only, to make them visible and easy to remove later. After the first runner places a band aid on the hand of the second runner, the second runner then runs and grabs a band aid and places it on the hand of the third team mate. Play continues until the first team mate who ran has a band aid too. The first team to have a band aid on the hand of every team mate wins. Tell the kids what a great job they did providing comfort for their hurting friends.
Open in prayer, then say this is our third week in the Beatitudes. We sure have learned a lot in such a short amount of time! We have learned that “blessing” means God’s special favor in our lives, and that blessings aren’t always what we expect. Last week we looked at the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This means that when we realize that our self-esteem comes not from what we can do, but from what God does in us when we believe in him, we get to spend all of forever in Heaven with Jesus! Today we are going to study the second Beatitude, which is a lot like the first one. Let’s read all of the Beatitudes before jumping in. (Read, or have a student read, Matthew 5:1-12.)
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’”
Who can tell me what today’s Beatitude is? (Allow a student to answer.) That’s right, today we will learn what Jesus meant when he said “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” What does it mean to mourn? Does anyone have any ideas? (Allow students to answer. Write “MOURN” on the board.) Mourn means to be really, really sad. I mean, REALLY sad. The original Greek word translated as mourn here is the word used for grieving for the dead. There is no sadness as deep as the sadness felt when someone you love dies. That is the kind of sadness Jesus means when he says “blessed are those who mourn.” He means the kind of grieving that makes your heart and your stomach hurt.
What are we grieving over, though? The kind of grief Jesus is referring to in this passage is not the kind of mourning felt when someone dies, necessarily. Jesus means we are blessed when we mourn over our sins. And the Bible says that when we live in sin, when we choose to do what we want all the time instead of what God wants, we are dead in our sins. Let’s have a sword drill to find that verse. Take all fingers and book marks out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, look up Ephesians 2:1. Go! (Read, or have a student read Ephesians 2:1. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” So in a way, we are mourning the dead. We are mourning US and everyone who sins. Which is every person on the planet, as you know. So when we sin, even though we are physically alive, we are spiritually dead. Sin makes us spiritually dead because it separates us from God. God is the one who gives us life, and when we choose to sin and follow our own way, we are choosing to be away from God.
This doesn’t sound like a blessing, like a special favor from God, does it? I mean, who is going to look at someone who is so sad that they are sick to their stomachs and sick to their hearts and think, man, I want to be like that person! Their life seems pretty great!
You know, I can’t explain it any better than the Bible can. Turn to 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 and follow along as I read what Paul, the apostle, had to say to the people in Corinth about Godly sorrow. Paul says, “Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” Paul is saying that when we are really, truly, deeply, painfully sorry for our sins, it will lead to repentance. Mourning over our sins will make us turn away from them and instead turn to God. When we repent and turn away from our sins and toward God, he saves us! God forgives us of all our sins and makes us right with him. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
See? Mourning is a good thing! When we mourn over our sins, we repent, and when we repent, we get salvation. That is why mourning is a blessing. When we mourn over our sins, God gives us the comfort of salvation, the comfort of getting to spend all of forever with him. (On the board, draw an arrow from the word MOURN, pointing to the word COMFORT.)
Along with giving us comfort when we mourn, God gives us a job to do. Let’s see what that job is in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Follow along as I read. (Read, or have a student read, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” There is a lot to learn from these few verses! The main point I want you to take from them now is that God comforts us so we can comfort others. Think of it this way. When you have a birthday party, what do you do with the cake? Do you take it into a corner and eat it all by yourself? Of course not! Birthday cake is so good, that you just have to share it with all your friends, so they can enjoy it too! That is kind of what God is telling us to do with his comfort. When you mourn and turn to God, he gives you comfort. God makes you feel better. When we see others mourning, it is our job as people who love God to share his wonderful comfort with others. Can you think of any ways to do that? How can we share God’s comfort with others? (On the board, draw lines coming off of the word COMFORT, like sunrays. At the end of each line, write a way to share God’s comfort, as suggested by the students. Ideas include having lunch with them, sending a note or encouraging card, playing with them, praying with them, bringing them to church, sharing the gospel and Bible verses with them.)
Before we close, let’s add our “blessed are those who mourn” bee to our beehive poster. (Add the bee that says “mourn” to the part of the hive that says “comforted.”)
There sure are a lot of ways we can comfort others when they mourn! We can comfort others because we know what it is like to mourn, because we mourn our sin. But God is so gracious, that he comforts us when we mourn, and gives us salvation when we repent of our sins! This is the greatest comfort of all, and the one we need to share with everyone! Jesus died for our sins, so we can live forever with him. As we close in prayer, and as you go about your week, be on the lookout for people who are sick to their hearts over their sin, and use the ways we wrote on the board to comfort them. For our craft, we will make something to help bring us comfort when we are hurting. First, let’s pray.
End in prayer.
Craft: Boo Boo Bees
Make “boo boo bees” to keep in the freezer. They will be there to bring comfort to the kids’ bumps and bruises! Have the kids fill the foot of their tube sock with rice, almost up to the heel. Shake it down so you have a nice, fat bee. This will take several cups of rice. It may help to use funnels. You can use paper rolled into a cone shape, or cut the bottom out of a paper cup. This will make it easier for the kids to pour the rice. Help them tie a tight knot in the sock, right up next to the rice. Leave the rest of the sock for this stinger. If desired, tie a series of knots in this extra piece to stiffen it and to make extra sure the rice stays in the sock. Now let the kids use permanent markers or fabric markers to decorate their bee. You could also use tacky glue and felt pieces. If your kids are older and your group small enough, they may enjoy using embroidery floss to sew fabric onto their bee. Store the finished bees in the freezer. If the sock gets dirty or starts to smell, untie the knot and replace the rice.