Mercy and Purity
“Blessed are the merciful” / “Blessed are the pure in heart”
“The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:16-17
Early in His ministry, the Word of Jesus quickly spread even beyond Israel. Multitudes followed Jesus, sitting at his feet, and He taught them doctrine unique to their ears, differing from the rabbis, scribes, and wise men of Israel. He did not teach the Law of Moses. He did not clarify it. He imparted the teachings of the Kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus sat down to teach the multitudes in Matthew 5-7, His oration left the people astonished. At the beginning of His discourse, He stated the following:
Matthew 5:7 – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Proclaiming how men could do well for themselves, Jesus spoke of mercy and purity. He opened the door to things not seen by men, a peek into how to ultimately dwell in the presence of God. Indeed, these two traits are living sermons seen in Jesus, the Word of God, and the Christian.
The Mercy and Purity of Jesus
John 8:29 – “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
The apostle John writes these Words of Jesus. The Christ declares his actions stand as testament that the Father is always with Him. What a man Jesus was! He did not covet His position as Deity, but chose to come as a savior to this world of sin (Philippians 2:6). And how the world needs Jesus!
Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Every person walking this earth from the beginning to end – except Jesus – commits sin (Romans 3:23, I John 1:8). So when Jesus came to this earth, He found a people in need of spiritual mercy. They were unclean, unhealthy, impure, weighed down with the filth of sin and therefore, separated from the God who created them. Jesus arrived as a great spiritual purifier for mankind teaching how to return to God (Mark 2:17). But, this is not why the multitudes of Matthew 5-7 followed Jesus. They were seeking the mercy of His miraculous healing. Jesus was not just spiritually merciful (Matthew 4:23-24). Jesus showed compassion in healing all that came to Him (Matthew 9:35-36). His mercy also caused him to feed the hungry who followed him for days on end (Matthew 15:32-38). Jesus cared about the physical well being of others and for good reason. Jesus came to this earth, living in the flesh as a man. He subjected himself to the intentional and unintentional consequences of the actions of mankind. He breathed the same air we do under the same sun. He experienced temptation and hardship just the same as mankind has since the beginning of time. He endure what the struggle of mankind feels like. Thus, Jesus shows mercy spiritually and physically for our plight (Hebrews 2:17-18).
However, though merciful, Jesus also needed to be pure. When an individual lives a life of serving God and not the world that demonstrates purity. Jesus led a life free from the sins that whirled around Him in the lives of mankind. He rejected temptation (Matthew 4). He championed thinking on the good things of life. “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten…” (I Peter 2:22-23) Peter describes the blood of Christ as that of a lamb without spot (I Peter 1:19). It was only in this way He would fulfill the Law of Moses and be acceptable as a sacrifice for mankind. Though he was tempted as us, He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus in showing mercy to us, obtained the mercy of the Father who raised Him up from the grave. By living a life of purity, Jesus “after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). The life He presented to others in Matthew 5-7, turned out to be a living illustration on how things can go well for one’s life.
The Mercy and Purity of the Word of God
The Word of God which Jesus taught was only that which the Father gave Him (John 12:49-50). Jesus shared a parable in Matthew 18:22-35 which told of a servant forgiven a huge sum by his master. Sadly, the servant goes away and refuses to show the same mercy to another owing a small debt. In fact, he causes the man to be thrown in prison over the sum. When the master hears of the actions of the unmerciful servant, the servant is delivered over to be punished. God’s Word declares the same will be done by the Heavenly Father to those not showing mercy. The parable Jesus spoke in Matthew 18 is the other side of “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. The Word of God displays mercy by not only telling us how to do well, but how to avoid punishment (II Timothy 3:16-17).
How the psalmist declares the purity of the way of God!
Psalm 12:6 – “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”
Psalm 19:8 -“the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;”
Peter refers to the Word of God when he tells the Christians to long for the “pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation”. As God Himself is pure, so goes His Word. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Thus, purity at its simplest and more recognizable form is God. “I AM HOLY!” Many times in scripture God declared this. Consider John 1:1 now:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14 declares Christ as that Word. We know God to be merciful and pure. We know Christ to be merciful and pure. The Word of God then, demonstrates the traits of mercy and purity as taught by Jesus on the sermon on the mount of Matthew 5-7.
The Mercy and Purity of the Christian
As Jesus spoke to the multitudes, He offered teaching which established what a citizen of the kingdom of God looked like. The citizen of the Kingdom of God replicates Jesus in mercy and purity (Ephesians 5:25-27). The citizen of the kingdom of God replicates the Word of God in mercy and purity as well for the Christian sees salvation through the implanted, merciful, and pure Word of God (James 1:21). Jesus commanded mankind to be merciful when He shared the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10. The apostle Paul preached to the Christians of Colossae telling them of mercy and moral perfection which is purity in Colossians 3:12-14. Christianity represents the light of God. In action, true Christianity shows faith in our unrealized hope, the coming of Christ and entrance into His kingdom. That such a belief mandates traits of mercy and purity becomes clear when the Apostle Paul speaks of the selfishness and immorality which will keep us out of the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Jesus in speaking to His disciples as they were concerned about rank in the Kingdom of Heaven stated the following:
Matthew 18:3 – “…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
A young child yet unstained by the world wants to please. He or she will share their cookies, share their toys, and freely give their love. They want to do anything they can do to help when someone hurts. Children demonstrate mercy and purity every day, just as Christ. These traits need to become ours. The Father longs for this. Christ lived it. The apostles taught it. The world can read this in God’s Word given for their guidance and perfection.
Jesus, the great healer of mankind looked out at the multitudes that constantly surrounded him and He shared words of the Father which provide eternal life. He did so knowing they were all condemned to die in sin. He did so knowing they would eventually beat Him, spit on Him, reject Him, and crucify Him. His greatest act of mercy and purity took place upon the cross as the pure sacrificial lamb of God. Showing mercy he pleaded, “Father forgive them…”.