We are focused this week on the Beatitude found in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”(NIV) My work to uncover the nuances of mercy led to a surprise. I wanted to look at Jesus as an example of mercy. He is a great example – that is not a surprise! But the surprise was in Hebrews 2:17, which reads, “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
You see, I knew Jesus needed to be faithful to God to give his life as a sacrifice. It was not easy to face the cross. But Jesus was faithful. So how did his becoming human lead to being a merciful priest in his service to God? Hmm. I think the clue is in the next verse, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Jesus’ experience in this life made him more sympathetic to the struggles we face. He is compassionate. This concern for the suffering of others and willingness to alleviate it is the very definition of mercy.
If we are to be merciful, then we need be compassionate with others.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.