When the Bible speaks of mercy it uses various terms, but there are two that stand out. In the Old Testament, we see the Hebrew term ” chesed” which means, among other things, goodness, mercy, grace, love and fidelity. In the New Testament, we find the Greek term ” eleos” which refers to the outward manifestation of compassion.
Therefore, biblical mercy is primarily about the expression or manifestation of God’s love. Out of mercy, he did not want to give us the punishment we deserved. God extended his hand to us and gave us the opportunity to receive forgiveness from him through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Offering us mercy was the heavenly Father’s own decision. God was not obligated to do it, but he decided so because of his immense love for each one of us. He took the initiative.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:4-5)
But, when the goodness and love of God our Savior were manifested, he saved us, not by our own works of justice, but by his mercy. He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Humanity was spiritually far from God, but he manifested his mercy. With Christ, God reached us. He offered us salvation, forgiveness, and renewal.
When we confess our sins to our Heavenly Father and receive his forgiveness, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our lives and everything changes. From that moment we have an eternal perspective inspired by the work of Christ on the cross, his forgiveness and his mercy.
Therefore, receiving God’s mercy transforms our lives. Transform our spirit and transform our day to day. Receiving that wonderful touch of God and having the Holy Spirit in us will be reflected in everything we do, speak or think… We are not the same after experiencing the great mercy of our Lord.
The work of Jesus
Jesus, God with us, lived a life of mercy. In the Gospels, we see how he mixed with the people, ate with all kinds of people, talked and listened to their problems, and identified with them. He not only reached out to others with compassion but also acted and relieved their pain by giving them healing for body and soul.
Jesus showed that acting with mercy is more important than strictly following the law. One of the best-known moments of Jesus is the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The teachers of the law and the Pharisees wanted to apply the law immediately and stone the woman. She had sinned! What did Jesus do?
But Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. And, as they harassed him with questions, Jesus stood up and said to them: Let the one of you who is without sin cast the first stone.
And bending down again, he continued to write on the floor. Hearing this, they left one after another, beginning with the oldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who was still there. Then he got up and asked her: Woman, where are they? Nobody condemns you anymore?
“No one, sir.
“Neither do I condemn you.” Now leave and do not sin again.
Jesus did not accuse her. He rather called the accusers to reflect on their own lives. Were they free from sin? Of course not and they knew it. The only completely sinless one in that scene was Jesus, but he chose to treat the woman mercifully by forgiving her and giving her another chance.
During his life on earth, Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, fed multitudes, raised the dead, and even in his last moments, when he was dying with his body torn, he chose to forgive. His life was an exemplary life of mercy.
It is precisely on the cross that we see the clearest expression of God’s mercy. Jesus died a painful death out of love for each of us. He carried the weight of our sins on the cross, he paid for all the evil that we have done. But he too was resurrected. He defeated the power of death! And it is thanks to his death and his resurrection that we have the hope of eternal life.
For God saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of our own works, but because of his own determination and grace. He granted us this favor in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time; and now he has revealed it with the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, who destroyed death and brought incorruptible life to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:9-10)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Jesus understands the struggles we human beings face every day. He never sinned, but he lived like one of us and went through situations similar to ours. Hebrews 4:14-16 says the following:
Therefore, since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, let us hold fast to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in everything in the same way as us, although without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help us in the moment we need it most.
Whatever struggle or problem we are facing, we can confidently turn to God for needed mercy or grace. God understands what happens in our lives and has compassion for us. Without him we are weak, but with him, we have enough strength to win and move on.
Results of mercy
The reality is that knowing that God did not give us the punishment we deserved, but that he loved us, forgave us and saved us should change us and move us to action. Gratitude for all that we receive thanks to God’s mercy must be manifested in our actions today.
We have received mercy and now we must seek to extend it to others. We have been forgiven: let us strive to forgive others. What we have received of grace, we must offer to others with generosity and as a token of gratitude to our Lord.
Wherever you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy from their disease, cast out demons. What you have received, freely give.
Life with Christ gives us a new purpose: to carry the message of the hope of eternal life to others. Let us remember that the power of the Lord is with us, the Holy Spirit of him fills us. Let’s walk in that power, let’s pray for those around us, and let’s impact our surroundings with the mercy and love of God. And let us praise God with all our being! He is worthy of our worship.
Praised be God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Out of his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, so that we may have a living hope
(1 Peter 1:3)