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2006.09.15

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Matt. 18:21-35

Mercy can be defined "loving and sympathetic heart" and compassion means "to pity
and help one who is in distress." There are three expressions that describe Jesus' heart in the Bible: "Compassionate," "Sympathetic," and "Merciful." We can see from these that Jesus, understanding people's situation, had compassion and mercy.

1. Jesus had compassion on those who are wandering, having lost the true way.

In the synoptic Gospels, we can see that Jesus had compassion and mercy on the multitudes that were following Him. He witnessed the Word to those who were gathering to hear the Word of Life to the point where He did not even have time to eat(Mark 3:20). He did not reject those who were coming to Him with all sorts of sickness and problems; rather He healed their sicknesses and solved their problems(Matt. 12:15, 19:2). From the dawn to late night, Jesus' days did not even have a little time to rest because He was with the people. One day, He got on a boat, wishing to go somewhere quiet and rest. However, the multitudes of people that were following Jesus somehow knew where Jesus was going and went there first. Seeing that, Jesus had sympathy as for shepherdless sheep. That's why He said to them, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He is the Lord who introduces to those who seek His Word and need His healing a correct faith and way of life through the Word of life with compassion and mercy! That's why Jesus guided people to the right direction and way of life in His ministry. When we also have this heart of Jesus in our relationships with other people, we will receive the blessing of mercy and compassion from God.

2. He cared for the souls that lost hope and lived in distress

In Luke 7, Jesus saw a funeral march of a son of a widow in Nain. Seeing the grieving soul of the widow, He stopped the march and raised her son from death. This is a miraculous event where Jesus gave hope to one who had lost hope. This Jesus came to our church and gave us the same hope. That's why He comes to those who are in distress and says, "Don't cry."

As we look at the event where Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain, we can realize that Jesus' mercy and compassion are the foundation of solutions to all problems. Only when Jesus felt sympathy and compassion in His heart, a miracle occurs and solutions to problem are given as blessing. Thus, we should also have a good heart of compassion and mercy like Jesus. The reason why Jesus forgave our sins on the cross is so we can also share that love with our neighbors. In the Beatitudes of Jesus, He speaks of those who are merciful(Matt. 5:7). In the General Translation(Korean), it says, "Those who are merciful are happy because they will receive mercy." In other words, those who are merciful to others will receive the blessing of prosperity in all things. On the contrary, those who are not merciful will receive merciless judgment(Jas. 2:13). Apostle Paul describes the heart that Christians must have as the following: "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you"(Eph. 4:32).

3. He shed tears when He saw those who were troubled with broken heart.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we can read about the compassionate and merciful heart of Jesus. As we can see in that parable, one who approaches a person in trouble with a sympathetic heart is a true friend. That is a compassionate and merciful heart: and that is the heart of our Lord. He did not avoid those who are suffering physically and/or mentally, but rather had compassion and sympathy on them. This kind of heart became apparent in the form of "forgiveness." That's why the parable in Matt. 18:21ff. the king forgave his servant who had ten amount a person cannot possibly pay back. The Lord cleared away all that debt by having a compassionate and sympathetic heart. The debtor was finally freed from pressure and suffering. Now, the Lord wished that he would also testify of the love, compassion, and mercy of the Lord to those who are indebted to him by forgiving them; "forgiving from the heart"(Matt. 18:35). When he does not do that, he sits in the judgment seat. A true believer's heart reflects on the love that he received from God and shares that love with others in the like-manner.

Conclusion

Joseph was a character in the Bible who returned evil with good and truly forgave(Gen. 45:8, 50:19-21). As Joseph truly forgave his brothers with love, mercy, and compassion, we should also live a life of mercy and compassion toward our neighbors through forgiving and loving heart.

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