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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 7 of 40: The Merciful

Matthew 5: 7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Mercy resides in those who have realized their own utter helplessness and have put their trust in God (the poor in spirit); those who know and grieve their own sins and who repent (those who mourn); those who put aside their own pride and self-interests for the authority and will of God (the meek); those who seek righteousness above all things (those who hunger and thirst).

Being merciful involves knowing and experiencing Christ in a very personal way and being led by the Holy Spirit to reach out into the world to help those in need.  It is not enough to simply know Christ.  Those who know Him are called to go into the world; to encounter the hurting and to bring them comfort and peace.

In Matthew 9:13 we read of Jesus eating with sinners:
"And as he sat at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice."  For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Christianity asks more from us than worshipping on Sundays and going through the motions (fulfilling our obligations).  We are called to be broken before God, filled with God's mercy and grace, and then to offer the same to the world.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), we find that mercy requires that we put aside our own needs and desires so that we can recognize the needs of others; mercy requires that we overcome our own prejudices and self pride so that we will be able to reach out to those who are different than us; mercy requires us to respond not with reluctant hearts but with hearts full of love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness; and finally, mercy requires us to translate these things into action and to go the extra mile for people that we may not know.

Tomorrow we study the pure in heart.

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