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Mercy - Not Sacrifice
12/26/2012

"Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7 (NKJV)

There is probably nothing more spectacular for us, as believers, to witness than to see a sinner truly repenting and seeking to have a relationship with the One who died for him or her.   Such was the case of a man named Zacchaeus.   Zacchaeus had much to repent from, as he was a Jewish chief tax collector hired by the Roman authorities to collect exuberant taxes from his own Jewish people.  It was customary for these tax collectors to try and take more than what was required by Rome so they could pad their own pockets, and they were usually greatly despised.   

One time when Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem He decided to take an indirect and longer route through Jericho.  As He entered Jericho, Zacchaeus tried very hard to get a look at Jesus as He was walking by, but because Zacchaeus was so short he could not see because of the crowd of people.  Determined to get a view of Jesus, Zacchaeus ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully (Luke 19:1-6). 

Now you would think all those people who claimed to be religious within the crowd would have been ecstatic when they saw Jesus reaching out to Zacchaeus and inviting Himself over for dinner, hoping and praying that he would repent and be saved, but this was not the case—in fact, the very opposite occurred, “When they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7).

Here the Savior of the world was in their midst, wanting to bestow mercy and compassion upon a man in desperate need of both, and they were bitter and began to scoff at Him—they were spiritually prideful. 

This is a great lesson for each of us, as we too, need to guard ourselves against becoming spiritually prideful—somehow thinking we are now above the need for God’s continued mercy upon our own sinful actions, all the while believing certain people are not worthy of His mercy and grace (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9).  When we succumb to the temptation to harden our hearts to the so-called, “Tax collectors” or social outcasts within our lives, we are following in the footsteps of these spiritually prideful people—we are having an outward form of godliness, but denying its power, and therefore having no inward holiness (cf. 2 Tim. 3:5). 

Let’s choose to imitate our Lord by showing kindness, love, mercy, and compassion upon every sinner we meet.  Jesus rightly stated, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:12-13).  How can we call a sinner to repentance if we do not have the heart to be in their company, or reach out to them in earnest? 

STUDY QUESTION: According to Matthew 5:7, what can we learn about showing mercy to others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to show all others the same mercy and kindness Jesus has shown you?

APPLICATION: Let’s look for opportunities to show mercy instead of judging others, holding grudges against them, or having unforgiveness in our hearts. 

LET’S PRAY:  Lord, thank You for being so merciful to us.  Help us to see others the way You do, and fill our hearts with mercy and compassion for those in need.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott Wright

 


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000