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What the Bible says about Jesus Christ's 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

Mark 1:40-42

Notice the man's faith: "If You will, You can do it." God had revealed to him Christ's power to do this. He was confident that Christ had the power to do what he asked Him to do. The only question that remained was, "Is he willing to do it?" which is why he worded his request as he did. "If You will, I have the confidence that You can do it." Christ found this appeal within His will and the will of God. Jesus reached out and touched him.

There was a great deal in that act. The very act of reaching out and touching the man indicated that his request would be fulfilled because the law that He gave to the Israelites in the Old Testament forbade a person from touching a leper (Leviticus 5:3). In a sense, His act violated the very law that He gave to Israel, but His mind was made up He to do it to perform an act of mercy and deliverance. That quickly, He reacted to the man's appeal. At this juncture, the important fact is that the man clearly believed that Jesus Christ had the power to heal him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith and Prayer

Luke 7:13-15

First, He knows all the specifics of the case. His disciples see only a funeral as they pass, but He understands the circumstances of the corpse stretched out in the coffin. He knows that the deceased is a young man, the only son of his mother, and that she is a widow!

Second, He does not wait for anyone to plead with Him. Isaiah prophesies of this in Isaiah 65:1: "I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me" (as quoted in Romans 10:20). Sometimes, before we call for help, He answers—what a special blessing that is (Isaiah 65:24; Daniel 9:20-23).

Third, when He sees the widowed mother, He has "compassion on her." Christ's concern is apparent in His expression of His mercy and tenderness.

Fourth, He says to her, "Do not weep," to provide comfort and encourage her.

Fifth, Jesus is not pretentious when He touches the coffin, but in humility He offers hope (Jeremiah 17:7). The widow thinks that all hope is gone, but even these dire circumstances are not enough to remove the hope found in Christ (Lamentations 3:26). Christ also shows great tenderness when "He present[s] him to his mother."

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Raising a Widow's Son

Hebrews 7:24-28

The Aaronic priesthood—including the high priest—was just as sinful as the population that they were to be serving. In order for this to be corrected, it was necessary that the true High Priest be one of divine nature, perfect, and sinless. Jesus Christ was both deity and humanity, and He qualified—through His sinlessness, His offering of His life, and His compassion—to be High Priest for the entirety of humanity. The book of Hebrews points out these things: 1) that He was divine, 2) that He offered His perfect life in sacrifice, and 3) that His mercy qualified Him to be High Priest.

Aaron's sons attained to the priesthood simply by being born into the Aaronic line. Members of the church, though, become priests by means of regeneration, making us part of the Divine Family—and thus brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part One)


 




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