July 22 I Wednesday

Psalms 31-32

Acts 23:16-35

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”    

—Matthew 5:7, ESV


From the opening verse of this devotion, there is a key spiritual principle behind this beatitude. “Mercy” is a dynamic, where it is a force that opens the door to the working of God. Jesus did not say, “Blessed are those who are shown mercy, for they will become merciful.” In other words, the recipient becomes merciful; rather, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful—those who show mercy—for they shall receive mercy.” According to that statement, the condition to receiving is giving.

However, we must keep in mind the context of Jesus’s teaching. We are told, “His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them”
(Matthew 5:1-2). Notice that the Sermon on the Mount is not an evangelistic sermon designed to cause people to become His disciples. The Sermon on the Mount is actually addressed to His disciples to teach them how to be the disciples they have already become.

When we read the Sermon on the Mount, it would not make sense to those who are outside of Christ. For example, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). This verse would not apply to the crowd that gathered but the disciples who have already aligned themselves with Christ.
Hence, when Jesus taught, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” He was indirectly saying to His disciples, “Looking after yourself has nothing to do with being a disciple. It is the merciful—those who are giving—who will receive mercy.”

We find this principle of mercy in other parts of the Sermon on the Mount as well. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” and He adds, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:12, 14).
Later in Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.”

If we forgive, we will be forgiven. If we give, it will be given to us. We see the condition to receiving is giving reoccur here. Yet, this all can only happen because we are recipients of God’s grace and forgiveness. John writes, “We love because He first loved us”
(1 John 4:19). Our receptivity to God’s love enables us to love Him back. This is the starting point, but in order to be Jesus’s disciple and live the Christian life, we respond with giving. To whom do we need to show mercy and forgiveness in our lives?

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for loving and showing Your mercy to me first. As Your disciple, I ask that the overflow of Your love and mercy may pour into every life that I touch. Praise You!

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