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The nature of Jesus’s public ministry wasn’t random. It didn’t spring out of a vacuum.
Seven centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah had anticipated an age when God’s Suffering Servant would minister to God’s exiled people:
Spirit - LORD - God - LORD - Comfort
The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to . . . comfort all who mourn. (Isa. 61:1–2; cf. 40:1; Luke 4:21).
This declaration eventually forms the backdrop for Jesus’s famous second beatitude: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).
Promise - Reality - King - Comforts
the promise has crystallized into reality. The King who serves and comforts is here.
Given the human condition, Jesus’s promise to comfort those who mourn sin could scarcely be more counterintuitive. Given the spirit of our age, it could scarcely be more countercultural.
Sin - West - Society - Sin - Sin
Sin in the late-modern West is not grieved. It’s not deplored. It’s not even merely tolerated. It is celebrated. Our society doesn’t mourn sin; it mourns those who mourn sin.
Yet we can succumb to similar tendencies, can’t we? No doubt one reason we fail to mourn sin is because we underestimate it. We assume it’s little more than a cosmic parking ticket. But sin is not trivial; it is treason, an insurrection against heaven’s throne. We have never committed a small sin, because we have never offended a small God.
Sin - God
We have never committed a small sin, because we have never offended a small God.
To the degree that we mourn our sin—both individually (Ps. 51:1–4; Luke 18:13; 1 John 1:9) and collectively (Ezra 9:4; Ps. 119:136; James 5:16)—we avail ourselves of heaven’s comfort. To the degree that we don’t, we rob ourselves of it.
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Imagine waking on the Fourth of July to a text from a friend: “Meet me for...
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