May 7, 2018

The Beatitudes: The Blessing of Mercy

Key Verse: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7

As we continue looking at the Sermon on the Mount, it’s important to recognize that the Beatitudes are not commands to obey but rather the character of Christ to display. In His righteousness, Jesus displayed mercy and forgiveness; whereas the rigid and self-righteous nature of the Scribes and Pharisees displayed condemnation and judgment. They demanded more effort in works and better sacrifices. Jesus, on the other hand, saw hurting people in need of deliverance. He offered compassion to people in need of rest from the burden of never being good enough under the weight of the Law.

One of the ways that Christ’s followers display His righteousness is by having compassion for others. The mercy and forgiveness we receive from Christ compels us to share the mercy that is in Christ. The righteousness of Christ doesn’t make us superior to people without Jesus. It makes us sensitive to their need and calls us to act in compassion.

Being merciful results in receiving mercy from God. Although this blessing is the promise in Matthew 5:7, it should not be our motivation to be merciful to others. Holy Spirit-led acts of compassion are not compelled by the reward but by the needs of hurting people. Offering mercy in the righteousness of Christ is compassion without the expectation of compensation. Jesus is merciful to me, not because I can offer anything in return but because He loves me. Showing mercy to others isn’t repaying Jesus for bearing my sins on the Cross; being merciful displays the righteousness of Christ to others because His nature dwells in me. I am blessed because He is glorified and others are comforted.

Are you offering the same kind of compassion to the people around you that Jesus has shown to you? Ask God to reveal where a judgmental attitude of condemnation or self-righteousness might have developed in your thinking. We know what a blessing it is to receive God’s mercy, but there is also great blessing in being merciful.