Jesus the Merciful
It was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17
14 We have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Russell Crowe played Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 film Gladiator. Maximus was a high-ranking Roman general who served under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He is betrayed by the emperor’s son, Commodus. Who attempted to assassinate him, and thought him dead. Maximus took on the name “Spaniard.” Through a series of circuitous events, he eventually becomes a gladiator in Rome.
Commodus made plans for Maximus to fight and an undefeated gladiator named Tigris. He expected Maximus to die. Maximus gains the upper hand but refused to kill Tigris. In doing so he won the crowd and was proclaimed “Maximus the Merciful.”
What is mercy? “Mercy is not getting what we deserve, grace is getting what we do not deserve” (Adrian Rogers). More later.
The Father cares for all children of the King. He has provided a wonderful gift, a merciful and faithful High Priest. The Lord Jesus Christ became fully human so that He could become our High Priest. Being fully human, He understands the foibles of human beings.
Hebrews 4:15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do.
He not only understands but He is empathic. We are invited to come to Him in all of our struggles, anytime, anywhere. He is able to come to our aid when we are being tempted because He suffered similar temptations.
Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
The Greek verb translated let us come is in the present tense. It has the sense, “let us keep on coming to” (A.T. Robertson). The Lord Jesus Christ, the Merciful, never gets tired of helping children of the King, He loves to do it.
The Greek word translated boldly or confidence is parresia. Parresia refers to an attitude of openness that stems from freedom and a lack of fear. Because of our merciful high priest and His finished work of redemption, the issue of sin has been covered and expiated. There is no reason to be afraid, but rather bold and confident.
We have confidence that we can boldly come to Him without fear in any and all circumstances when we need Him the most. We can come again and again.
How great is that?
Why would be fearful and reluctant to come confidently to Him? The apostle John explains.
1 John 4:18 there is no fear in love, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
When we know we are loved and have experienced that love, fear is removed from the equation. On top of that, each child of the King has an invitation to come boldly signed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful.
REFLECT & PRAY has
The mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful is infinite. They can never be exhausted nor used up.
Father thank You that You have provided the Perfect High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful. Encourage me to come boldly and confidently into Your very presence to find grace and help whenever I need it.
2 Corinthians 1:3 The Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
When we receive mercy and help in our times of greatest need, what do you suppose the Father wants us to do? He wants us to pay it forward. The greater mercy that we give to others, the more we receive. Mercy becomes like living water flowing from the source, the God of all mercies, through us to others in need. There was a familiar rabbinic saying, “The greater mercy that we give to others, the more we receive” (UBS).
Matthew 5:7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Children of the King are to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the Merciful, and show mercy to others. We are to be merciful. The thought is similar to the Lord’s prayer.
Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
“The merciful are those who reflect God’s acceptance of the unworthy, the guilty, and the ones in the wrong, based upon the premise that God’s forgiving and restoring acceptance has been manifested in the message and person of Jesus” (Larry Chouinard).
The Greek word translated merciful is eleemon. It reflects the original Hebrew word for mercy hesed.
Hesed “does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone in trouble. Hesed, mercy, means the ability to get right inside other people until we can see things with their eyes, think things with their minds, and feel things with their feelings. Clearly, this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly, this demands a quite deliberate effort of the mind and of the will” (Barclay).
“Mercy is defined as having a feeling of sorrow over someone’s bad situation and trying to do something about it. People who are merciful can be said to be ‘kind’ or ‘forgiving,’ or to be ‘people who take pity on others,’ ‘people who show mercy to others’” (UBS).
Being merciful is more than just an occasional merciful impulse or act. It refers to “those whose bent is to show mercy” (Morris). For them being merciful is a way of life.
Be merciful. You will be shown mercy. What a tremendous promise. What do you have to lose?