Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: All
From: Su Min
Subject: Mercy

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones (1 Thess 3:12-13).

When is Jesus coming? Thrice in Rev 22 (vs 7,12 & 20) Jesus says "I am coming soon." But he also says "Keep watch, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come (Matt 24:42)". No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matt 24:36).

Today we look at the fifth beatitude:

What is this mercy that Jesus wants us to pursue? The Greek word for "mercy" used in the text is eleeeo (el-eh-eh-o) Strong's Concordance #1653, [from eleos, Strong's Concordance #1656: compassion human or divine especially active tender mercy]: have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, show) mercy.

The corresponding Hebrew word is Strong's Concordance #2617, checed (khe-sed): kindness, by implication towards God piety, subjective beauty, favour, good deed. kindly, loving kindness, merciful, pity.

It would seem that mercy is one aspects of God's personality. We read in Gen 39:21 that when Joseph was thrown in prison on false charges by Pothar's wife, the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy. Indeed God's mercy is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, (Ps 103:17) and with no limits, boundless, great above the heavens (Ps 119:34). God himself declares to us in Exodus 34:6 The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin, and that by no means will clear the guilty...

We learn that God is merciful yet righteous: he loves the sinner but cannot tolerate sin. And God would that we be merciful.

In Prov 3:3 the Word of God says: Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the tablet of thy heart.

It was revealed to the prophet Micah that God had shown us what is good: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8) Hosea 6:6 reiterate God's desire for us to be merciful.

I desire mercy not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offering. Jesus himself quotes this in Matt 9:13 in reply to the Pharisees condemnation of his comport and his consorting with tax collectors and sinners. Again he quotes this passage in Matt 12:7 as he defends the picking of grain on the Sabbath.

Jesus identifies three important components of the law, justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matt 23:23). The Pharisees and the teachers of the law had focused on the letter of the law not the spirit of the law. This spirit of the law was well exemplified in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37). The expert in the law had identified the neighbour as the one who had shown mercy: the Samaritan was an outsider, not of the same elevation as the priest, nor of the levites who served in the temple: but the Samaritan had pity, compassion for the wounded, actively went to his aid and succour, bandaged him, anointed him with oil and wine to treat and soothe the wound, bore him on his own donkey and took care of him. In short, he was merciful to the degree that God would want us to be. Jesus says "Go and do likewise.".

The other side of the coin is the unmerciful. The epitome of this is encapsulated in the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt 18:23-35), where Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wants to settle his accounts with his servants. Servant Unmerciful owes 10,000 talents (a vast sum, reckoned at around 10 million US dollars at present rates), and successfully begs for mercy, having his debt cancelled. Servant Unmerciful chances upon Fellow Servant who owes him 100 denari, about 3 moths salary (1 denarius = 1 days wage, cf Matt 20:9), and has him cast in prison in spite of pleas for mercy. Justice! Justice! In his wroth his master had Servant Unmerciful delivered to his tormentors till he should pay all that was due. Then Jesus says, This is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive, unless you show mercy...

In big trouble are the merciless for they shall be shown the same degree of harshness..

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Let us close in prayer..

For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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