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Bible verses about Showing Mercy
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 9:10-13

In saying that He desires mercy and not sacrifice, Jesus is teaching that He prefers it when people practice mercy and not blindly follow ritual. He is not condemning the laws of sacrifice that He set up for Israel to practice until He fulfilled them, but explaining that He is more pleased with acts of forgiveness and kindness than strict external compliance to the law.

He is telling the Pharisees that, though they were exacting in keeping the letter of the law, they had completely missed its intent. In Matthew 23:23, He reminds them of this very point: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."

It is good and right to tithe to God, even to be exacting in our accounting, but not at the expense of the far more important matters of justice, mercy, and faith! These weightier matters are a Christian's priorities, so if a question of "What do I do?" ever comes up between practicing them and keeping the strict letter of the law, our judgment should lean toward these Christian virtues. If we can do both, all the better!

Jesus Christ is the personification of mercy. Exodus 25:17-22 describes the Mercy Seat constructed in the wilderness. Essentially, it was the golden lid of the Ark of the Covenant, on which were figures of two cherubim facing each other with their wings stretched out, covering the Mercy Seat. God, the pre-incarnate Christ, says in verse 22, "And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony." The Mercy Seat represented God in His dealings with sinful humanity, and the chief element He employs is mercy.

Now notice Romans 3:23-25:

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed. . . .

This passage tells us that Jesus Christ is our Mercy Seat, but the translators have hidden it. "Propitiation" (Greek hilasterios) in verse 25 is literally "place of conciliation or expiation" or "Mercy Seat." The Septuagint used hilasterios to translate the Hebrew noun kapporeth ("Mercy Seat"). This Hebrew word's root is kapar meaning "to cover" or "to conceal." This illustrates that the nature of God is to be merciful.

The apostle Peter writes in I Peter 2:21 that we are to follow in Christ's steps, thus as Jesus Christ is merciful, we also are to show mercy in our judgments.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Mercy: The Better Option


 

Luke 14:1-6

Christ's miracle of healing a man with dropsy is the last healing He performed on the Sabbath. It occurs in the house of one of Judaism's chief Pharisees. Luke records that the lawyers and Pharisees “watched Him closely.” Their suspicious attitude set the initial mood for the meal and their intentions toward Jesus: They wanted to discover a way to make an accusation against Him. The miracle occurred under the malicious scrutiny of enemies who especially criticized Him for His healing on the Sabbath. They sat and ate with the Son of God, yet they were so blind, they could not see who He was. As a consequence, they did not know Him.

Sabbath dinners, famous for their festive entertainment, were an integral part of Jewish social life. The Pharisees were well known for their own careless approach to the Sabbath, often feasting and drinking excessively, but at the same time, they nitpicked how others kept it. They had no reservations about throwing a party on God's day, but to heal the sick on the Sabbath was, to them, unforgiveable (Mark 3:1-6). Jesus accepted invitations to feasts (Luke 15:1-2), and was known to enjoy eating and drinking with publicans and sinners. He knew the Jewish leaders would use occasions like these to condemn Him.

This is the only case of dropsy found in the Gospels. The term the physician Luke uses to describe the man's condition is a strictly technical one. Dropsy was considered to be a symptom of an organic disease, usually one of the heart or kidneys. What we call “dropsy” manifests itself in edema or swelling of various parts of the body.

Whether the unnamed man is an invited guest or had come only to be healed, we do not know. The healing is performed by actual contact. At Christ's touch, the disease flees, and he is allowed to leave the feast before Jesus resumes His conversation with His antagonists. Though the man does not ask to be healed, Christ gives him the blessing of healing.

Jesus' teaching is clear and pointed. He brings to the Pharisees' attention that, if their acts of love toward their animals in danger on the Sabbath are acceptable, why would acts of love for human beings on the Sabbath be any less acceptable? He had taught a similar lesson earlier in the synagogue (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-9). He compares the man with dropsy to an animal stuck in a cistern or pit (Luke 14:5) and the woman with a crooked spine to a bound animal (Luke 13:10-16). By healing the man with dropsy, Jesus proves that it is merciful to heal on the Sabbath day, and by His illustration, He exposes their lack of love and consistency.

We see here what happens to the unconverted mind because of unbelief—a lack of love is the inevitable product of rejecting God. By these Sabbath healings, He emphasizes the humane element in the original institution of the Sabbath as a day of rest, recovery, and joy, rescuing it from Pharisaic distortion. In addition, by observing the seventh day as the day of public worship, He gives it sanction as God's weekly holy day for the church.

By these deeds of healing, He honors it specifically as a day of showing mercy. As Lord of the Sabbath, He consecrates it by His Spirit for the worship of God, as well as for the service of man (Mark 2:27-28). His constant compassion for human suffering is a mirror of His compassionate heart for sinners. He lived to relieve the afflicted and oppressed, and He died to emancipate men and women from a worse disease than that of any physical nature. By His shed blood, He can take the sinner by the hand, heal him, and “let him go” to walk in newness of life.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Man With Dropsy


 

1 Corinthians 6:1-3

In a broad sense, Paul is teaching that we are to learn to deal with situations as God would, and our training ground is here in this life and in the church. We are undergoing extensive hands-on training for the profession of judge, which, as Paul implies, will be among our duties as children of God in His Kingdom. This is no minor matter!

Earlier in my conversion, I clearly left out one of the most important elements needed for making right judgments. Jesus points out which one in His Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7). Had I shown more mercy in those situations, their outcomes would have been far different—and definitely better.

Generally, the merciful are those people who are affected by the suffering of others. They are affected in a manner that causes them, not only to offer encouragement to one who is experiencing a rough spot in his life, but also to work to lessen his suffering.

The New Unger's Bible Dictionary defines mercy as "a form of love determined by the state or condition of its objects. Their state is one of suffering and need, while they may be unworthy or ill-deserving. Mercy is at once the disposition of love respecting such, and the kindly ministry of love for their relief."

A secular dictionary, The Reader's Digest Encyclopedic Dictionary, concurs: Mercy is the "kind, compassionate treatment of an offender, adversary, prisoner in one's power; compassion where severity is expected, or deserved." Among its synonyms are "leniency," "compassion," "forgiveness," "pity," "kindness," "tolerance," "charity," "benevolence," "clemency," and "forbearance."

The primary idea behind mercy is rendering a kindness when harshness or condemnation is expected or even deserved. A merciful person looks beyond the present state of affairs to the potential good that may result from his compassionate handling of the matter. He is willing to forgo the other's punishment, his "just deserts," or his own desire for revenge in an attempt to produce good fruit from a bad situation.

The nature of God is to be merciful to those He calls. We know that He calls the weak, foolish, and base (I Corinthians 1:26-28), those who are undesirable in society's eyes and guilty of sin in His eyes. He extends great mercy to them, redeeming them from the death penalty and setting them on the path toward eternal life in the Kingdom of God. In doing so, He sets us an example to follow!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Mercy: The Better Option


 

 




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