Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Transformative Power of Mercy and Forgiveness ***

S. Matthew 9:9 – 34

O. Jesus surrounds himself with sinners and disciples alike, drawing the criticism from the Pharisees.

A. Jesus welcomed everyone to his table, all of them sinners. Upon hearing of the criticism by the Pharisees on the company he was keeping, Jesus said,
 “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Jesus is very clear here, we must show mercy, we must forgive all others for their sins. We must acknowledge our failings. We need only come as we are. If we think we’re somehow better than anyone else, we’ve made a mistake. We are all the same; we are all sinners. And, we need only come as we are to be forgiven and to be healed.

Empty sacrifices are meaningless. The only real sacrifice we need to make is that of mercy and forgiveness. We need only sacrifice our self-righteousness. There is plenty of pain and suffering in our lives, that is our daily sacrifice. We don’t have to conjure up ways to honor God and live as Jesus taught. We need only forgive and show mercy.

At the end of this scripture, the Pharisees comment on all of the miracles Jesus is performing.
“He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
This is difficult indeed. Yet, we need not fear persecution. Persecution is natural when you’re surrounded by those with no faith and who do not understand. This does not meant we don’t go out and do good acts or attempt to heal others.

What Jesus was doing was showing a new way to treat one another. This scared the Pharisees and those in power. If people treated each other better, the Pharisees feared losing their control over those people. If people had faith in forgiveness and mercy, a government or an official that has neither lose authority and power. It seems understandable why there will be such an extreme response to such a transformative message.

P. May I always show mercy to others. May I always forgive others. May I not fear persecution.

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