The Mercy of Jesus: A Meditation, Part 2
by Pastor Gene
Mercy is one of our Father’s many magnificent attributes. Those of us who have found mercy – who have been kissed by God’s mercy – need not have it explained to us. Those who have never known it can never understand it, no matter how eloquent the explanation offered.
Mercy rescued me, a guilty sinner and a lost man. Mercy delivered me from the quicksand of my own sinfulness and set my feet upon solid ground. Mercy embraced me and assured me of God’s love. Mercy cost me nothing, yet it cost God His own Son. And mercy is something that the Father expects to find growing in His children.
The merciful are blessed, Jesus taught us (Matthew 5:7). David, in deep distress, longed to fall into the hands of his merciful Lord, but not into the hands of men (2 Samuel 24:14). God is “rich in mercy” and “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Ephesians 2:4, Titus 3:5). The “wisdom from above is … full of mercy” (James 3:17).
Hebrews 4:16 promises that if we’ll approach “God’s throne of grace with confidence” we’ll “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” So, if we come with confident faith before our Father, we’ll find mercy. But here’s the thing, if others come before us they should find it too! Therefore, Jesus’ admonition to His followers: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
This morning we continue with our meditation upon the mercy of Jesus from Johann Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations. As you read them, think long and hard about each point. Take your time with them – there are only 14. Consider the implications of each point as it relates to you personally. Put yourself in the picture; write yourself into each sentence. See Jesus doing all that He did for you. See yourself as the object of His magnificent mercy and outrageous love. And use them to challenge yourself to become more merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful!
In the God of all mercy,
Johann Gerhard continues:
- He bore the burden of the cross, so that He might remove from us the awful burden of eternal punishment.
- He cried out that He was forsaken by God, that He might prepare for us an everlasting dwelling place with God.
- He thirsted upon the cross, that He might meritoriously earn for us the dews of divine grace, and prevent us from dying of an eternal soul-thirst.
- He was willing to be scorched by the flames of divine wrath, that He might deliver us from the flames of hell.
- He was judged, that He might free us from God’s judgment.
- He was condemned as a criminal, that we, the real criminals, might be acquitted.
- He was smitten by impious hands, that He might deliver us from the devil’s lash.
- He cried out with bitter pain, to save us from eternal wailings.
- He shed tears upon the earth, that He might wipe away all tears from our eyes in heaven.
- He died, that we might live.
- He was humbled before men, that He might heal our sinful pride.
- He wore the crown of thorns, that He might win for us a heavenly crown.
- He suffered for all, that He might offer salvation to all.
- His eyes were darkened in death, that we might live forever in the light of the heavenly glory.
(Adapted from Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, Lutheran Publication Society, 1896, translated by C. W. Heisler; written in 1604)