SOTM: The Merciful

SOTM: The Merciful

Intro

  • The Jesus Prayer – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner
  • Most of the New Testament is really built upon the Sermon on the Mount
  • First -inward in focus. Second -how our hearts changed to see people the way Jesus does

Problem

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7
  • Compassion vs. mercy- the one who doesn’t deserve it
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God

  • Matthew 6:14 “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
  • Matthew 9:13 and 12:7 I desire mercy, not sacrifice Hos. 6:6
  • Matthew 18:23-35. why couldn’t the forgiven servant see his hypocrisy?

Application

  • There is a story told about a mother who came to Napoleon on behalf of her son who was about to be executed. The mother asked the ruler to issue a pardon on behalf of her son, but Napoleon pointed out that it was the man’s second offense, and justice demanded death. “I don’t ask for justice,” the woman replied. “I plead for mercy.” The emperor objected, “But your son doesn’t deserve mercy.” “Sir,” the mother replied, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask.” Her son was granted the pardon.
  • Conundrum – I am reluctant to show you mercy because I can’t bring myself to let go of what is owed me. But if I call in your debt, I put myself in a position where my debts, too, are brought to light.
  • “I’ve written down everything she’s done to me and put it in my safety deposit box with instructions that it be given to her when I die.” 
  • In a section of The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky relates the story of a woman who was almost saved by a single onion.

Vision

  • Rene Girard was the head of Anthropology at Stanford University and studied the nature of culture for many years. In the course of his research, Girard made a discovery that astonished him: he learned that the very things that destroy a culture are ingrained in human nature—things like selfishness, violence, and greed—things we Christians would call “sin.” More amazingly, Girard found that the thing that holds culture together is the need for a scapegoat. Everybody, he discovered, needs somebody to blame. Girard found this principle deeply embedded in every culture he examined. When he came to the culture of the Old Testament, he found this principle of the scapegoat acted out in the law of Leviticus 16, where the priest confesses Israel’s sins over a literal scapegoat and drives it into the desert. As Girard read on into the New Testament, he discovered something even more incredible. In the New Testament, the scapegoat had a name. What was symbolized in the Law of Moses was personified in the death of Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus is God’s way of saying to us, “It’s your fault, blame me.” The wrongs people commit against me are forgiven by Jesus. If God can forgive them, so can I.

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