Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mercy There Was Great!

Titus 3:3-7
      For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Easter is a soul-stirring holiday, at least, for me. Each year at this time my mind reflects on how great is the scope of mercy. Consider how Jesus knew that He was coming to earth to die for the sins of all mankind. Yet, He was willing! In our finite minds we cannot grasp such mercy. Sure we are willing to die for a family member or even those close to us.  For those we don’t even know is another concept or to extend our mercy to those who have treated us despicable is a foreign thought.
Jesus extended mercy to one who treated Him in such like. Consider the High Priest’s servant, Malchus, who was in the group that came to arrest Jesus. He might not have been the one who yanked Jesus roughly. He might not have been the one who tightly bound Jesus’ hands. YET, He was in that same group. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, attempting to provide a show of protection to Jesus drew a sword and sliced off Malchus’ ear. Oh my! How terrible!  Or maybe…Good! That’s great! Responses could have varied on that gloomy night. However, Jesus grasped that ear, gently placing it back upon the side of Malchus’ head. Was it grabbed in anger and slammed against his head? (That was the way they were treating him.) NO! Thousand times, NO! Jesus did it out of love.
          This past Sunday I was sharing some of these thoughts during our Easter program practice.  I questioned the youth on what their reaction would have been….to show kindness in the midst of being treated hatefully. One young man vehemently said, “No way! I couldn’t have shown such kindness.” The human mind responds that way, but with such mercy revealed to us that should cause us to reconsider. This Easter let us consider how we can extend mercy to those who are not deserving. For we are the same—not deserving of such mercy.  YET,
Mercy there was great and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.
William R. Newell (1868-1956)

         God’s grace extended to each soul who needs forgiveness is found through the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary. What mercy! What love! What grace! And to think, I am a recipient. How can I not share it with others so they might benefit from this awe-inspiring grace?

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