Summary: The coming of Jesus brings the mercy of God as close as it could ever come for people, who desperately need His mercy.
I want you to show you pictures of Jesus today. My prayer is that the eyes of your heart would be open by the Holy Spirit to this truthful representation of Jesus Christ through preaching. My hope is that you would see Him in the light of His glorious mercy because if you do, you will never see Him the same again – and you will never be the same.
Randy Frazee, pastor of Pantego Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas, shared this story:
I remember seeing a picture of a husband and wife in a gentleman’s office. I said, “Nice picture.” I turned around and looked at the man, and he had tears in his eyes. So I asked him, “Why are you crying?”
He said, “There was a time in our marriage when I was unfaithful to my wife, and she found out about it. She was so deeply hurt and injured she was going to leave me and take the kids with her. I was overwhelmed at the mistake I had made, and I shut the affair down. I went to my wife in total brokenness. Knowing I did not deserve for her to answer in the affirmative, I asked her to forgive me. And she forgave me. This picture was taken shortly after that. When I see this picture, I see a woman who forgave me. I see a woman who was willing to stand with me in this picture. So when you see this picture you say, ’Nice picture.’ But when I see this picture I see my life given back to me again.”
When our focus at Christmas turns from Jesus to the events and the parties and the presents, the Christmas story can easily be downgraded in our own hearts and lives and become just a “nice picture.” I hope that today, we might look upon it again through personal eyes, through lives that have been and are being restored through the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Mary had a perspective; the birth of Jesus was the incarnation of God’s mercy. We read it in her magnificat in Luke 1:46-55… Now the act of her worship reveals the inspiration behind it: the child she carried was the fulfillment of God’s promise to show mercy.
Mercy; this is the reason Jesus came into the world. He is the mercy of God incarnate and visible.
Mary’s song of worship erupts in magnifying praise upon her recognition of this miracle child – the Messiah of God, the embodiment of God’s mercy – growing inside of her, soon to be revealed in the flesh of a newborn. Her song reminds us of the mercy that He gives...
1. Mercy’s Incarnation
Mary’s song defines the mercy of God for us revealed in Jesus’ birth. Sandwiched between her declaration of His mercy in vv. 50 and 54 are 3 important statements that define it.
• He has shown strength with His arm. He scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
• He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
• He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
Mercy itself means showing kindness to someone in need. It is the outflow of compassion. It is God responding to need because He is loving and kind and good. It is God helping out those, who cannot help themselves.
In one sense, mercy defines God. Mary describes His mercy in these terms: He shows strength with His arm – He exalts the lowly – He fills the hungry. It is the helpless that He helps; those without strength, those without honor or dignity, those without nourishment – He provides for us what we cannot provide for ourselves. This is why Jesus came.
• Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
God is merciful and has expressed the riches of His mercy in the coming and dying of Jesus. He is unwavering in His mercy, but He is also selective in how He applies mercy. His mother notes that He has nothing to give to those, who choose to live out of their own sufficiency: He scatters the proud, who delude themselves with illusions of self-sufficiency. He puts down those, who presume to be mighty and sit on their own thrones. He sends away those, who would trust in their own wealth and riches rather than look to Him.
In mercy, He lifts us, strengthens us, nourishes us, saves us, heals us, redeems us – only when we’re looking to Him and not to ourselves. He doesn’t ask for anything that you might give to His cause of restoring or healing or saving. He requires the abandonment from ourselves to Him.