November 07, 2006

Are You Merciful? (1)

Luke 10:25-37

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Matthew 5:7


Luis Palau, a well-known evangelist, tells the story of a mother who approached Napoleon to seek a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that because the young man had committed a certain offense twice, justice demanded death. "But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained; "I plead for mercy." "Your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." "Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy"--and he spared the son's life.

Jesus tells a story of a man who is beaten, robbed, and left for dead, only to be cared for by a Samaritan man, his enemy. The beaten man is totally dependent on the mercy of the good Samaritan, and his only hope is that someone will show him mercy.

Our only hope is that God will have mercy on us, his enemies because of our sin. When Jesus sees you beaten up by the guilt of sin, in the grip of an addiction, or otherwise desperate because your life is ruined, he pours into your wounds the love and mercy of God and gives you a sense of peace that only God can give.

In Jesus' story there is also a priest and a Levite--dedicated religious people--who walk past and ignore the beaten man. Sometimes Christians get so busy that they neglect to show mercy to those who need it.

O God, you have been merciful to us, showing your love faithfully even though we don't deserve it. Thank you for being so good to us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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