Summary: A look at God's grace and mercy as we take communion
Grace and Mercy
October 4, 2020
For the past months we’ve been talking about our purpose and how we can serve God and one another and find fulfillment in all that we do. And it’s really an important aspect of who we are in Christ. I believe we all want to be fulfilled and have a reason for waking up in the morning. And I believe that can come through our relationship with Christ. It occurs as we draw closer to God and experience His power, mercy and grace.
Now, it’s those last 2 words that I want to talk about this morning -- before we take communion. You see, when we draw near to God, we have this amazing offer from God. He offers us grace and mercy.
Sometimes I think we look at those words as kind of passive. We think of them as not really powerful and strong. But I want to challenge us to look at these words in a different way. As I was reading this week, I came across this passage in 1 Peter 2, and really felt God leading me to talk about His grace and mercy. In Peter’s letter, he wrote at great length about suffering. In fact, every chapter of 1 Peter hits on some form of suffering we will endure because we’re followers of Jesus. That’s the basis of what and why he’s writing this letter.
Peter wanted his readers to understand that those who persevere in faith while suffering persecution should be full of hope. They gain a two fold promise - - they will enjoy end-time salvation since they are already enjoying God’s saving promises here and now through the death and resurrection of Christ. And that is already true for you and I, as well.
Jesus suffered and died for us, and as a result we can endure whatever suffering comes our way in the name of Jesus. Listen to these words from Peter –
22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. 23 When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. 24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. - 1 Peter 2:22-25
Those are powerful words of comfort. Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, also prophesied about Jesus. It’s a section which is called the Suffering Servant. Listen now to what Isaiah wrote from Isaiah 53, and you’ll see where Peter is coming from –
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. - Isaiah 53
Peter was taking this prophecy and helping those who were suffering understand the power of the presence of Christ. It’s believed that Peter was writing to a more Gentile audience, so they would have been less aware of these words from Isaiah. These words from Isaiah were written somewhere around 700 BC and now around the year 62-63 AD, Peter has experienced the joy of this prophecy becoming a reality. That’s the power and beauty of the Bible. Reading something 750 years later and it’s a reality. It really happened.
Jesus suffered and died for us. He could have fought back. He could have called upon a legion of angels, arch-angels, and warrior angels . . . but He did not! He accepted the cup that was placed before Him. That He would be the lamb, led to the slaughter . . . for you and me.
The Lamb sent to the slaughter . . . for you and me. That was the price of freedom! Freedom to experience the power, the grace and the mercy of Jesus. The grace to come into a reconciled relationship with God.