Is it me, or is there a dramatic increase in tailgating and speeding these days? Especially at this time of year in Wisconsin, you never know what the roads will be like. Used to be when the occasional driver would be so aggressive, you’d say “Hey buddy, where’s the fire?” With so many people doing it now (and if we’re honest, we might do it too), you know there’s no real fire…just a bunch of people who are so focused on their own agenda, their own desires, that the thought of the needs of anybody else around them, like the need to not be wiped out by somebody driving crazy, never enters their consciousness. Call it carelessness, selfishness, road-rage or even narcissism, but such lack of thought doesn’t leave much room for the things that really are important, beyond just the safety of myself and others. That is NOT the way Jesus taught us to be—those who are in Him are to be considerate, others-focused, forgiving, and compassionate. Joining us today to explore the fifth Beatitude in our The Beatitudes series is teacher and author of the book “Broken Yet Blessed”, Kathi McCarty, with: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Table Talk Notes
Reviewing the first 4 to understand the next 3. First three beatitudes describe the emptiness of the blessed person, how we are within ourselves and with God.
Poverty stricken in spirit
- Grieving over sin: both our own & the world’s
- Accepting life’s challenges and accusations with meekness
The 4th beatitude declares the necessity of a hunger and craving for righteous to be filled, but with what? Mercy, purity & peacemaking (the next 3 beatitudes).
What’s mercy? Is it the same as grace?
- Greek NT word for mercy (eleeo “el-eh-eh-o”) – “to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable”
Grace is not the same as mercy: “the love of God which has been shown to undeserving men.” Grace is taking away the guilt that is over us. God comes – we do not deserve it, we cannot merit it – but God comes and lifts away the guilt that is ours by right, He takes it away from us. But mercy is the compassion of God, that when He looks upon us it motivates Him to lift that guilt off us. Titus 2:11 -14 | For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
How do we find mercy?
Mercy comes from God to those whose hearts know they’re spiritually bankrupt, and are then filled. We cannot show true mercy until we’ve received divine mercy from the Source, who is Himself True Mercy. All that we are, or ever hope to be, is due to the great mercy of God.
Mt 9:10-13 |As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Hosea 6:6 | “For I delight in loyalty (ESV “steadfast love”, Septuagint “mercy”) rather than sacrifice and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” The Lord does not want us doing “religious duties” toward Him; it’s not about what we do for God, but our hearts in relationship to Him/others. One obstacle to mercy can be the trivial things in life. God wants our involvement in the weightier things like mercy, faith, etc. Matt 23:23-24 | “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
Jesus tells a parable
Luke 10:25-37 | Parable of Good Samaritan | And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Mercy (an active verb) in context of this story
- mercy sees distress (a man is hurt)
- responds with compassion and pity
- relieves the distress (binds wounds)
- responds even to an enemy (Samaritans were despised, considered half-breeds by the Jews)
Religion blinds our eyes and gives us a dull heart Religious activities are those things (even good things) that do not cultivate a heart of mercy Mercy is putting your money where your mouth is
Christ, Mercy extended
The Father saw us in our pitiful state, He saw us the way that we were, in our sin, with all the wrong that we have, with all the guilt, with all the ugliness of our filthy sores in His sight – yet He sent the Lord Jesus Christ! Mercy is expressed in both compassion and forgiveness. Click To Tweet Gen 37, 39-50 | Joseph and his brothers. Gen 50:15-21 | When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. John 8:1-11| Woman caught in adultery | But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” Mark 2:13-17 | Jesus eats with sinners & tax collectors | He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Two merciless systems of the time – Rome and the Pharisees/Jews, conspire to kill the man of mercy.
Mercy is not some foolish sentimentality that excuses or ignores sin. Click To Tweet
God must judge sin, God must condemn sin – and any time that you find in the Scriptures where mercy was extended to men, someone else had to take the judgement. It was the lamb in the Old Testament, praise God it’s the Lamb of God in the New Testament! The only reason that we have the mercy of God extended to us today is because Christ has received the punishment!
Why extend mercy?
By performing acts of mercy you will show yourself to be forgiven by God. This world’s philosophy is coined in the words of a famous philosopher, when he said this: ‘Mercy is the disease of the soul that spells weakness’. What does the world emphasize? What does our culture emphasize? Rights! My right! It is my right to do this, to do that! I have the right here, I have the right there!
If we do not extend mercy, it suggests we ourselves have not truly received the mercy of God. Click To Tweet
Mt 18:21-35 |Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
- Have I received the mercy of God by accepting the grace to be saved?
- Can I extend mercy as freely as I have received it?
- If not, can I humble myself before the Lord and ask to receive His mercy upon my life?
Psalm 145:8-9 | The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Luke 6:27-36 | “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Titus 3:4-7 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Heb 4:16 | Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
1 Pet 1:3 | Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead