Mercy Through Instruction
When dealing with the adulteress, Christ taught everyone present a huge lesson on mercy:
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
This was said, not only to the adulteress, but to the religious leaders (v.3) and Christ's followers (v. 2). For him to make the above statement was to let everyone know, regardless of your relationship and status with God, you are not beyond mercy and you should not be above exhibiting it. We can learn from this. If we will speak out mercy into those who are seeking it, we will see people come to Christ we never thought possible. Those who have been outside of relationship with God for years will flood the altars if they feel like their is a hope of forgiveness. More importantly, this kind of mercy will be a testimony to others. People in every level of relationship with God will see the power and depth of God's mercy and it will inspire them.
Mercy Through Action
When Bartimaeus heard Jesus was coming near, he cried out, not for his sight, but for mercy from Jesus (Mark 10:47-48). Once again, this is done in a large crowd that featured both followers of Christ and the curious and skeptical. For Bartimaeus to ask for mercy from Jesus showed them and us today a different aspect of mercy. It's not always forgiving people of their sins. It's bending down to those who are in a low and needy place and providing for them with what we are able to give. Jesus had healing to give that day. We have that same ability (Mark 16:18), but being merciful may also mean providing food, finances or even just encouraging prayer. It's up to God and what he wants to do in us in that situation. We just need to be ready to exhibit mercy when we come in contact with someone in need of it.
Mercy Regardless of Response
Mercy isn't just for those looking for forgiveness or those in need of something. Christ showed us at the most inopportune times and with the most vicious people, mercy still has a place. As they nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, he didn't spit in their faces. He didn't curse them or beg for leniency. He accepted his position of sacrifice and he spoke mercy over those who killed him (Luke 23:34). To do this shows us there is nothing and nobody beyond mercy. The abuser, the murderer, the terrorist and more. They all have done terrible things, and they may be remorseless in their actions, but Christ is still willing to forgive them. Still looking to speak mercy over them just as he wanted to do at Calvary. It's not to say that this action is easy because carrying and being nailed to a cross wasn't easy. Christ agonized over it and tried to escape it, but he accepted it in the end because he saw the power of mercy and wanted to bring it to everyone. We must strive to be like Christ and take on the challenges inherent in forgiving the worst, even when the worst isn't looking for forgiveness.
Christ showed mercy in how he instructed people, how he healed people and how he was an example to people. It invaded every area of his earthly ministry and is at the core of God's identity even to this day. If we ascribe to be like Christ, we must have mercy in every area of our lives. This isn't always easy, but we can get there if we embrace it more each day.
Who else in the Bible showed mercy in these three areas:
1. To someone who needed to be forgiven
2. To someone who had a physical or spiritual need beyond forgiveness
3. To someone who had wronged that person greatly.
What do you learn by comparing these people and situations to Christ and his actions?
Missed our preview video? View it below:
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.