Summary: series on the Beatitudes
¡§Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.¡¨ (v. 7)
I. THE CHARACTER
The word mercy is used 31x in the New Testament. It conveys the idea of having mercy, obtaining mercy, showing mercy and even receiving mercy; but it also carries with it the concept of having compassion or pity on someone. According to the root meaning in the Greek language, it is ¡§good will toward the afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.¡¨ Therefore, it not only means to feel deeply but is also a word of action. It means to recognize a need and then do something about it. It is the outward manifestation of pity or compassion; it assumes a need on the part of the one who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of the person who shows it. The emphasis is on the feelings of pity showing itself in action, and not just existing in thought only. Mercy in theory is absolutely meaningless to Jesus. Just as the Bible states ¡§faith without works is dead;¡¨ so, mercy without an outward act of that mercy is equally dead. Mercy is, then, compassion in action.
The Christian is surrounded by mercy. It cannot be earned any more than grace can be. It is something that the Lord gives us freely. When a child of God looks back on his life, he can say, ¡§Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life¡¨ (Psalm 23:6). When he looks ahead to the future, he remembers the words of Jude 21, ¡§Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.¡¨ And when he looks up to heaven each new day he is given to live, he can say as Jeremiah said: ¡§It is of the Lord¡¦s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness¡¨ (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Knowing this is not enough, however. God has already given us His mercy through Jesus, but He wants to abundantly bless us with more mercy. The way that happens is for us to exercise mercy ourselves„³have compassion in action„³be a flowing channel of mercy.
It can only come from someone who has experience mercy himself. I was in need and the Lord in His great mercy, met my need. I was lost and He saved me. In fact, He died for me while I was yet a sinner (Romans 5:8). I didn¡¦t deserve it but He provided it any way! As the old song says, ¡§He looked beyond my fault and saw my greatest need.¡¨ Praise the Lord! Without His mercy, I would have nothing joyful to which to look forward. I would be headed on a one way train to hell, but the Lord had mercy and compassion on me, forgave me, and eternally saved me! I have experienced first hand God¡¦s abundant mercy and now, as a child of God, I am expected to demonstrate that same mercy toward others. Read Luke 6:31-38. Emphasize verse 36„³¡¨Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.¡¨ Living this way cuts against the grain of our old sin nature. It rubs the wrong way, but it is how every person who names the name of Christ is supposed to live.