How do we become the kind of people that show kindness and mercy to people that might not look like us, have our background, or views on life? How do you have a dissenting view with someone else and yet still sit at the table together? This week we talked about how we extend mercy from a place of the mercy which has been extended to us.
We like to be right we like to be just, but are we merciful? The only way to become a merciful person is to fully accept the mercy that is available to you and to me. To become a merciful person, we must be full of the mercy we have received and let that overflow through us.
Something in us is tempted to believe God loves his law more than his people. We’re tempted to prioritize rules over people. Maybe you left church because somebody prioritized the Bible over your divorced mother or gay brother. But Jesus came to offer us a life greater than keeping religious rules. Something greater than a temple or law has come into the world: the life and light of God; his only Son, Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t an extension of the old religion. He came to introduce something brand new. He came to "land the plane" on the O.T. and introduce a new way of thinking/believing! And his platform is what we call the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon... is the full expression of Love (on the Inside!; Not religion on the outside) that was for the entire world.
When you read the Gospels, two things are abundantly clear. Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. And being an unbeliever doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. For the disciple their "God growth" happened not when they believed so, but when they had “done” so. When their faith intersected with the faithfulness of Jesus, everything changed.
Application: What is your next step—coming back, confessing, reconciling, choosing purity, taking a year off, serving, giving? Whatever your next step is, take it. You don’t know what hangs in the balance.
From the beginning, Jesus resisted the ways of the kingdoms of this world. His was a different kind of Kingdom—nothing like the Kingdom of Israel. “Might makes right” is the default setting for the world. While temptation has all kinds of "flavors" for all of us. The most "tempting" temptation is power. The story of the temptation of Jesus is a story of the power of the Word, the power of humility and the willingness to serve the helpless. Those with wealth and power write the rules, and they usually write them to favor themselves. That was true in Jesus’ time as well. But he came to turn everything upside down.