My husband just completed a sermon series on The Beatitudes, so I thought this would be a good topic for our Tuesday series. We began by learning how Jesus set the stage for his sermon. Then we studied the first Beatitude and learned what it means to be poor in spirit. Three weeks ago we examined what it looks like to mourn our sinful state. Next, we learned about meekness and obedience. Last week we saw what it looks like to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Today we look at Beatitude #5:
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy. ~ Matthew 5:7
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL…
In order to express mercy, we must first experience mercy ourselves.
Jesus Christ demonstrated mercy as he dwelt among sinful people during his earthly ministry. He showed empathy as he dealt with sinners. He himself had been tempted in every way, and even though he did not give in to temptation, He could identify with their struggles. He went further than anyone else could to show mercy to us by dying in our place on the cross. Our sins – all our sins – were placed upon Him, once and for all. During this time, He experienced the grief of separation from God the Father while He hung on the cross; our Holy Heavenly Father turned away from Christ because He cannot tolerate sin and remain holy.
Jesus also showed mercy by confronting people about their sin. He did this with firmness and gentleness. And the Holy Spirit does this with us today. He confronts us at the core of our sinfulness, which is a wall between us and God. He shows us our need for a Savior. In the same way, we should not overlook or sugar-coat sin in others. It is not merciful for us to see people in their lost, sinful state and not share the Good News with them. If we downplay sin, then we take away the need for a Savior.
… FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY.
A person immediately receives mercy when he accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord – forgiveness and salvation is given, and cannot be taken away! Hebrews 8:12 states, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” As my husband says, “Heaven is not earned on the merit system; we know full well what mercy looks like in regards to everlasting life.”
We also receive mercy from God’s providential care for us here on earth. God sustains us as we do His will and serve His purposes in the world. Being a Christian is not easy, but it is easier than being lost in sin. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) Even when we suffer hardships in life, we know it is for a greater purpose: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Once we have experienced mercy, we can then show it to others. The Living Water flows through our life as we continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and it overflows into the lives of others!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND MEDITATION:
- How has Christ demonstrated mercy toward you personally? Take time to thank Him for His mercy.
- Hebrews 12:7 states, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons.” Is the Holy Spirit confronting you about sin in your life in order to steer you back toward righteousness? God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. Ask God to help you deal with sinful habits – in His strength you have victory over sin!
- Is there a situation in your life where you are having trouble showing mercy to someone? Pray and ask God to help you be merciful.
- Think of a recent time when God supplied a physical need for you or a loved one. Thank Him for His provision and protection and praise Him for His goodness.