Blessed are the Merciful for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 ESV
In the middle of a crisis it feels good to find someone to blame, but it is far better to find someone to help. Last week in Casigno Italy, Father Giuseppe Berardelli died of the Covid-19 virus after giving his respirator away to a younger patient. His act of sacrificial love is the example of the mercy of Jesus Christ that we all need to learn while we are passing through this valley of the shadow of death.
We are all only on this planet for so long and for all of us our final day will come. We have to choose how our lives will be remembered. When we are gone from this place will people first mention the beauty of our home or the vintage of our car? Will they discuss the brilliance of our investment strategy or the universities we sent our children to? Or will we be remembered as the landlord who forgave the rent, the mechanic who repaired someone’s car for free or the nurse who held a patient’s hand as they drew their last breath?
Mercy is like a flower whose seeds are given to us. We have an opportunity to plant them in the lives of people all around us. Remember that the greatest mercy of all was planted one late afternoon outside of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago as Jesus looked out from His cross and cried, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” Now He puts that mercy into our hands. So why not look for a way to plant mercy in the heart of someone else today? Remember the words of Jesus when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 ESV
It is not long until Christmas and some might be thinking about what kind of gifts to give. For the people closest to us we often focus on something personal. For those whom we do not know so well we may stockpile a few generic gifts. But what kind of gift do you suppose God would choose to give?
Well the Bible tells us that He gave us life and breath. The Apostle John goes further and says that God gave His only Son that if we believe in Him we could receive eternal life. But if we look a little closer we see that when Jesus came, He didn’t just stick around long enough to do miracles and then return to heaven waiting to see if we would believe. He came with one very specific job to do. He came to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins.
The difference between the Christian and the non believer is not whether we grew up in the right family, are members of the right church, or even give a lot of money to the poor. Our one essential characteristic is that we have come, one by one to the foot of the cross and received the gift of mercy that Jesus came to give. Now He asks us: “Will we be willing to give away the greatest gift that we have ever received?” Why can’t we give mercy to others this Christmas? And why not give it to more than just our loved ones and friends? Why not give it to neighbors, strangers and even enemies? Mercy is the greatest gift we could ever receive or give and best of all it is always free!
I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax it is melted in the midst of my bowels. Psalm 22:14 KJV
When we are singing “It is well with my soul” we should always remember the price of what we are singing about. As a teenager I always loved the Christmas presents I got from my stepmother. She bought me beautiful expensive clothes, but she always left the price tag on! She didn’t mind spending the money, but she wanted to be sure that I treated her gifts other special care!
In the garden Jesus said that His soul was sorrowful unto death. He agonized in prayer in order to accept the suffering of the cross. He asked if there were any other way and then sweat ran down His face like great drops of blood. Just hours after
He had finished praying, Jesus was nailed to the cross. The Bible tells us that He was poured out like water. Last, the spear pierced His side and the last drop of the lifeblood of Jesus flowed down to the ground. What a price He paid for us! Maybe like me you will go to church this Good Friday and receive communion. Jesus said that each time we receive the bread and drink from the cup we are to remember His death until He comes. Jesus is not angry that our sin drove Him to the cross rather in love He chose a way of leaving the price tag attached so we would know the price of His gift.