The Beatitudes – Blessed are the merciful
“To be merciful would include, first of all, kindness to the sons of want and the daughters of penury. No merciful man could forget the poor. He who passed by their ills without sympathy, and saw their suffering without relieving them, might prate as he would about inward grace, but grace in his heart there could not be. The Lord does not own as of his family one who can see his brother have need, and shut up his bowels of compassion from him.” The Beatitudes by Charles H. Spurgeon
As we study the Beatitudes we see the steady progression of our rebirth through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and what it brings to our Christian life and walk. We see a definite progression of our spiritual awakening and transformation. The transformation of our new self is seen in first three Beatitudes as the emptying of our sinful self, our self-centeredness, our self-reliance and our opposition to the things of God. We see our contrition to the point of mourning over our worthlessness before God. We see that we become humbled before God and become meek in His presence. In the fourth we see that this progression of emptying ourselves has created a hunger and a thirst to know our Lord better. There is an intense longing after Jesus and His righteousness. We hunger and thirst for the Word of God that we may know His ways. In the next four Beatitudes we will see the manifestation of the fruits of this new creation.
Christ in the Beatitudes is defining the character of those that believe in Him and have been given to Him by the Father through their professed faith in the Son. The character of the believer is to be brought into a likeness of Jesus as his walk progresses. This transformed holy character brings us the promised blessings that Christ teaches of here. When we hunger and thirst for the things of God we are filled by His Holy Spirit and we are blessed. In the next four Beatitudes we will see the effects and evidence of the first four.
Mercy, therefore is a fruit of the born again Christian’s character. Because mercy is reflected in the essence of Christ’s character we therefore must show mercy in our lives. His life and substitutional death was the ultimate act of mercy for an undeserving people – namely us. God was not required to show mercy on us but having done so we can do no less. Having been the recipients of His wondrous mercy, we cannot help but now act mercifully toward others.
Jesus Christ was the most merciful human being who ever lived as can be attested to in Scripture:
· Jesus cured the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-47).
· Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Mark 1:30-31).
· Jesus healed a leper (Mark 1:40-45).
· Jesus healed the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13).
· Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-18).
· Jesus cured two demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34).
· Jesus cured the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8).
· Jesus raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:18-26).
· Jesus cured a woman of an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48).
· Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 9:27-31).
· Jesus loosened the tongue of a man who could not speak (Matthew 9:32-33).
· Jesus healed an invalid man at the pool called Bethesda (John 5:1-9).
· Jesus restored a withered hand (Matthew 12:10-13).
· Jesus cured a demon-possessed man (Matthew 12:22).
· Jesus fed at least five thousand people (Matthew 14:15-21).
· Jesus healed a woman of Canaan (Matthew 15:22-28).
· Jesus cured a deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37).
· Jesus fed at least four thousand people (Matthew 15:32-39).
· Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man (Mark 8:22-26).
· Jesus cured a boy who was plagued by a demon (Matthew 17:14-21).
· Jesus opened the eyes of a man born blind (John 9:1-38)
· Jesus cured a woman who had been afflicted eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17).
· Jesus cured a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-4).
· Jesus cleansed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
· Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46).
· Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 20:30-34).
· Jesus restored the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:50-51).
How do we reflect His mercy? The easiest answer is that we are called to become more like our Savior and reflect His character. People should be able to see Jesus in us through how we live our lives. We need to show a kindness and benevolence that feels the miseries of others. We need a spirit that regards with compassion the sufferings of those that are hurting and in need. It is the forgiving spirit; it is the non-retaliating spirit; it is the spirit that gives up all attempts at self-vindication and one that would not return an injury for an injury, but rather to respond with mercy.
The source of this mercy we display in our lives is not initiated from within our human nature. The mercy that Jesus is teaching of here is the product of the new nature that indwells us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is supernatural and runs counter to our human instincts. The mercy taught in this fifth Beatitude is a spontaneous outflow of a heart that is captivated by, and in love with, the mercy of God. The more we ponder God’s sovereign mercy to us, the more we should realize the magnitude of it. The God that offered His only Son to die a criminal’s death so that we may have our sin debt paid for is a God of unlimited mercy. We are hugely indebted to this Divine grace and our reaction is to have mercy on all, even those that wrong, injure, or hate us.
The fruit of mercy is one of the attributes of the spiritual nature that we receive at the new birth. Showing mercy in the child of God is but a reflection of the abundant mercy that is found in our heavenly Lord. Mercy is one of the natural and necessary consequences of a merciful Christ when He indwells us. Being merciful is integral in becoming transformed into a new creation. We need to contemplate, in our walk, our actions which may reflect badly on Christ as people who profess His name. We need at all times to filter our actions through His eyes. Would He have acted differently?