“Blessed are the merciful, For they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
As Jesus begins His public ministry, it becomes undeniable that people want to listen to Him. As he begins his Sermon on the Mount, His longest recorded sermon, He starts with a blessing. This first lesson to his followers is what has become known as the Beatitudes. A “beatitude” is a “supreme blessedness”, so who does Jesus call blessed?
As we continue to break down each of Jesus’s blessings, I think it’s important to pause and note what Daily Grace Co. authors mention about the Beatitudes:
“While it is common to hear the Beatitudes pulled apart or studied one at a time, it is wise to read and study them together. Jesus is crafting a sermon where each piece builds on the last. Many commentators have said that the first four beatitudes show the justification we receive from God, and the last four show the sanctification we receive from Him. Justification is when God declares us righteous because Christ’s righteousness covers us through salvation. Sanctification is the ongoing process believers go through over the course of their lives as they walk with God and He conforms them to His image.”
In previous devotions, we’ve covered the four Beatitudes of justification, and now it’s time to look towards sanctification.
Jesus begins to focus on how believers can become more like Him as he declares, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (v. 7). Daily Grace Co. says it perfectly when discussing this Beatitude: “Jesus is the embodiment of mercy, and His coming to earth in and of itself shows the mercy of God to mankind.”
Because we have seen the effects of our sin and come under the authority of Christ, we can truly take in what great mercy we’ve been shown. We have been spared from the consequences we deserve. But what do we do with this mercy we’ve so graciously been given? We give it to others.
Jesus is clear a chapter later in Matthew–and throughout the gospels–that we are called to forgive and show mercy to others. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” and Ephesians 4:32 says “Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” (CEV Bible).
Forgiveness and mercy are hard, but when we realize how great a debt we’ve been forgiven, it should soften our hearts and make us more merciful and loving than any other people in the world.
Who in your life do you need to forgive? Who needs the mercy of God today? Take a minute to pray for that person. Ask God to remind you of the mercy He has so graciously given you, and ask Him to change your heart so you may be filled with mercy for others.