October 24th, 2017
Pastor Tom’s Note:
Mercy for You and Me
In 1 Peter 2:9-10, Peter lines up great markers of identity: “chosen lineage( -ESV “race)”, “royal priesthood,” “holy nation,” “people of his own possession.” Each of these monikers carries tremendous weight and history for God’s people (Exodus 19:5) but Peter leaves the best marker for last: recipients of God’s mercy (1 Peter 2:10). In one sentence, Peter puts everyone on notice that belonging to God doesn’t mean coming from a particular ‘stock’ or background, but that a person –anyone– has actually embraced for themselves His mercy, His undeserved kindness.
There are many, many examples of ‘mercy identity’ in Scripture, but a great witness of mercy comes from Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), the blind beggar from Jericho. He has no qualm screaming at the top of his lungs to get Jesus’ attention: “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” He is undeterred by those who try to shut him down. Bartimaeus’ persistence pays off because he does get Jesus’ attention who asks him point blank: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus, without missing a beat, responds,”Let me recover my sight.” Jesus is not one to turn down any request for His mercy and the rest of the story is for the ages. ‘Mercy came running” as the song goes.
Jesus continues to ask the same question to us, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are we wanting to receive His mercy? Are we willing to extend the same to the underserving (who sometimes are those right next to us: spouse, friend, sibling, parent, children, co-worker)?, do we extend it to ourselves? In our ‘perfect’ ways, this last one may very well be the hardest. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).