Previous blogs have covered the top ten teachings of Christ (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Be merciful’.
Christ our ‘propitiation’
At the heart of the Old Testament Temple is the Holy of Holies. Within the Holy of Holies lays the Ark of the Covenant which contains the two stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written. On top of this Ark is positioned the Mercy Seat. Above the Mercy Seat rested the cloud or visible Divine presence. The High Priest would go into this inner room once a year and sprinkle the Blood of the Atonement upon it. The Greek word for mercy seat is ‘hilasterion’ which means propitiation, literally meaning ‘a taking away of sin’. In the New Testament, Christ died on the cross, shedding every bit of his own blood to be our ‘propitiation’ – taking away our sins. Our acknowledgement and faith in this sacrifice is what causes our past sins to be eradicated and which continues in our ongoing repentance along our journey.
Without the mercy of God we would be doomed
A definition of mercy is: the kindness shown toward someone whom you have the right or power to punish. Without the mercy of God we would be doomed. In the gospel accounts there are ten references to people crying out Jesus ‘have mercy on me’. A cry that at some point or other must be the cry from our own hearts as we acknowledge our sin and failings.
In Jesus’ infamous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ He says, Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy, Matthew 5:7.
We are to be a people who show mercy to others.
The merciful are happy
Henry says – The merciful are happy. This, like the rest, is a paradox. The richest nor the wisest are not necessarily likely to be the most merciful. Yet Christ pronounces them blessed. If we be devoutly and charitably inclined to pity, help, and support a person in misery then we are the merciful.
We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must, by Christian sympathy, share in the afflictions of our brethren. Pity is to be shown (Job 6:14 For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend, so that he does not turn away from the fear of the Almighty). Mercy is to be put on (Col 3:12 As God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with a good disposition]).
We are to contribute all we can for the assistance of those who are any way in sadness. We must have compassion on the souls of others and help them. Pity the ignorant, and instruct them. To the careless warn them and to those who are in a state of sin snatch them as out of the burning fire. We must have compassion on those who are melancholy and in sorrow, and comfort them (Job 16:5 I could strengthen and encourage you.. the solace of my lips would soothe your suffering and lessen your anguish).
On those whom are our brothers and sisters and are in want, we are to supply them 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him?. If we refuse to we shut up the reserves of our compassion. But ‘if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday’, Isaiah 58:10.
Blessed are the merciful
We are blessed is we ourselves are merciful, for in so doing we resemble God who is good. In being merciful as He is merciful, we are, in measure, perfect as He is perfect. It is an evidence of love to God. One of the purest and most refined delights in this world, is that of doing good. For it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35 In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’
They shall obtain mercy. Mercy with men, when they need it. But especially mercy with God, for with the merciful He will show Himself merciful, Ps. 18:25 With the kind (merciful, faithful, loyal) You show Yourself kind, with the blameless You show Yourself blameless.
God sparing mercy
The merciful shall find with God sparing mercy (Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you). They shall find supplying mercy (Prov 19:17 He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed.) They shall find, sustaining mercy (Ps. 41:2 The Lord will protect him and keep him alive. And he will be called blessed in the land; You do not hand him over to the desire of his enemies.) They shall find mercy in that day (2 Tim. 1:18 the Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord on that [great] day). They shall also inherit the kingdom prepared for them (Matt. 25:34, 35 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favoured of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world).
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Unexpected Help Luke 10:30-37 Everything happened so quickly A sudden victims attack I looked up to realise That I was lying on my back. How my head was throbbing. Did I see someone walk by? Would anyone leave me here Alone to just die? I turned my head again Only to inwardly cry As yet another person Seemed to just walk by. A long time seemed to pass now Just lying in the same place But then I looked up and was aware Of a warm and friendly face. I looked longingly toward him. Could help be at hand? Then I noticed he was a Samaritan. I just didn’t understand! He began to bandage my wounds Pouring on oil and wine. I felt the love flowing freely From his hand to mine. Now sat securely on his donkey I began to feel better within. I just couldn’t believe his words. “I am taking you to an inn”. Such kindness and such love In his beautiful face; The sort I had not seen From my own race. Then Jesus was so often Disappointed and let down He couldn’t do many miracles In His own beloved town. We expect our own to help us Not pass by on the other side But the love of Jesus comes unexpectedly It’s a love that cannot be denied. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, forgive me for when I have been the one to pass by on the other side. Compel me to help those in need. To be merciful as You have been so merciful to me. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.