MERCY. We want to learn (1) just how deep Jesus’ mercy is (2) how deep God wants our mercy to be. Before we do that, a prayer: Lord, strengthen us by the truth; your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see. Open our ears to hear what you want us to hear and open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. The Story
It was all he had ever known. Darkness.
He was blind. His eyes opened. Light touched his pupils, but…no reception.
The beautiful reds of the rose bush? Darkness.
The incredible blues of the sky? Also, darkness
The warm smile of his mother? Darkness yet again.
It was lonely.
And he spent a lot of time to himself because he had never been able to get a job. He had tried his best, but…the problem was always the same.
Where to plant the seeds? Darkness.
Where to hammer the nails? Darkness.
Where the sugar was that he needed for the sweet bread? Darkness.
He couldn’t get a job.
He sat on the side of the road.
In the dirt.
In the mud.
And people treated him like they treat beggars:
“What a good for nothing.”
“Why doesn’t he get a job?”
“Oh, honey, get over here. Don’t go near that man, who knows when he last had a bath.”
He heard, and he ignored. Not because it didn’t hurt (it did), but because he needed to! If he wasn’t begging as people passed by, he might miss the handout from the 1 out of every 500 people that was willing to help.
It’s who he was.
A blind beggar.
A non-descript blind beggar that everyone knew as a non-description blind beggar.
It was a rotten life.
But on this day, he forgot all that. The conversation that he listened to in order to entertain himself on the side of the road was interesting:
“I heard that he’s on his way here.”
“Jesus? Really? Here? I wonder if he’ll do any miracles.”
“Yeah. I hope so. I heard he made a lame guy walk and a sick woman well…and a blind man…to be able to see.”
A bit later the noise became a bit louder…A murmur, the kind of commotion that sounds like a crowd, but most wouldn’t be able to distinguish voices from each other.
Not the blind man.
He heard a young lad shout: “Jesus is this way!”
He heard his mom reply, “Wait up and stay out of his way.”
He heard another gentleman shout, “Hail Jesus! Hail to the Savior.”
He heard a low grumble from off to the left, “I hope this good for nothing keeps his mouth shut. He’s no Pharisee and we’re sick of having him alive.”
And then…off in the distance…
Up on the road…
He heard HIS voice.
It was authoritative.
It was clear.
It was filled with loved.
And it seemed to be speaking directly to him.
“Repent and seek God’s mercy!”
Suddenly, without warning, the blind beggar found his voice uttering something that he had not uttered ever before: HOPE.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (v.38)
He repeated it:
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
He shouted even louder:
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And soon, he got a reaction. Just not from Jesus.
“Shut up! You. Beggar. Be quiet. Jesus is way too busy. He’s way too important. He doesn’t have time for you. You don’t deserve his attention.”
The beggar listened to them. He nodded. He agreed. He didn’t deserve it, but…that’s why he was shouting: “JESUS! SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!!!”
It continued: “Have mercy!” “Be Quiet.” “Have mercy!” “Be quiet.” “Have Mercy!” “Be Quiet.”
Until… a hush came over the crowd, as if someone had motioned for silence. Then, that voice—the authoritative, merciful one “Bring him over to me.” (v.40)
He heard a group of men running toward them. Feet hitting the dirt. Lungs panting. Voices uttering, “Quiet you! Look what you’ve done. You’re gonna get it.” As they grabbed him under the shoulders and dragged him aside.
They threw him on the ground.
He looked up – nothing but black.
“What do you want me to do for you” the voice asked. (v.41)
The blind man took a deep breath. As he did, he heard the voices chuckling in the background.
“How about a bath?”
But he ignored them.
He had hope.
He had hope in Jesus’ mercy.
“Lord, I want my sight.”
The man listened.
He heard the wind rustling the leaves.
He heard the tweet of a bird.
He heard his own heart beating abnormally fast.
Then he heard the voice:
“Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” (v.42)
And…before the man could hear the “u” in “you.” A flash of color– greens of trees, blues of sky and the white of his Savior’s merciful eyes.
He could see.
Jesus had mercy.
II. The Deep Need for Mercy
Have you ever cried out to God like this man? Have you ever cried out loud and with such reckless abandon that you don’t care who hears you?
Think about it – This man was willing to make a fool of himself!
Why? I’ll submit that he didn’t have anything to lose. He knew his situation was dire. He knew that he could never heal himself from blindness. He knew that he had nothing to offer Jesus in exchange for this miracle.
The only thing he had was a deep understanding of his own need for mercy.
QUESTION: How well do you understand your need for mercy?
The apostle Paul recorded this truth about the human heart in Romans 3. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
The thing is we tend to see this passage and say: “That’s right! The world is a disaster. The politicians are a disaster. The people who do thing are a disaster. Our world is a slimy pit filled with scumbags. Yes, Bible. You’re right. There is no one good, not even one.”
But…did I miss something?
Are you a robot?
Some kind of alien?
Are you human?
Then this passage is talking about you.
To say otherwise is like the little boy whose mom comes in and sees that her chocolate cookie is missing. She looks at him and he smiles with big chocolatey teeth, chocolate stained hands and a breath that smells like the Hershey’s factory. Yet when she asks, did you eat the cookie – he says, “NO!”
To say you are not a sinner is foolish.
Which means – we fit into this passage and we are in deep need of mercy. Let me read it again. I’ll change a word. “You are not righteous, not even a bit. You don’t understand. You don’t seek God. You have turned away, you have become worthless, you have not done good, not even a bit!” (Romans 3)
But pastor. That’s not me.
I’m not a drug dealer.
I’m not a lying, good for nothing politician.
I’ve not been convicted of rape and I don’t have a terrorist bone in my body!
But…you are a sinner, right?
And God is holy, right?
And holiness can have nothing to do with sin, right?
Then, how will a holy, sin hating, sin despising God let you into his kingdom?
Your sin not that bad?
Be less sinful than the other sinners?
Give him some money?
The only way you enter God’s kingdom,
The only way you have forgiveness,
The only way you get to heaven, have eternal life and can have peace with God…
…is if Jesus has mercy.
Son of David, have mercy on us!
The only thing more impressive than the blind beggar’s confidence, is his confidence that Jesus will provide mercy.
And you can be just as confident.
Because Jesus does provide mercy.
In fact, he already did.
Because, right before the events of the blind beggar, do you know what Jesus tells his disciples? He tells them this:
We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. (v.31-33)
That sounds terrible.
That sounds awful.
That sounds like it should be avoided.
You want to know what Jesus did? He went to Jerusalem!
He was delivered to the hands of Gentiles, mocked, insulated, spat upon, flogged and killed.
Why? “He saved us…because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5)
Because he heard your cry. In the sea of the millions of billions of people throughout time and on this planet – He heard your voice and acted.
He had mercy.
He lived perfectly when you couldn’t.
He died innocently in your place.
He rose triumphantly for the forgiveness of all of your sins.
Fellow believers, you needed mercy and he gave it to you. It’s yours.
And unbelievers – don’t think that – because I didn’t realize my need for mercy until now – I can’t have it. Wrong. Jesus already had mercy and died for you. Trust in him and his mercy is yours.
And then – you will see.
You will see your Savior.
Your will see forgiveness.
Your will see your place God’s kingdom.
III. What Now
(1) Never Forget your Need for Mercy
I can’t imagine that the blind beggar did. Each day he could wake up, open his eyes, and smile. He could see! I’m sure it made him very thankful and very humble.
We can’t forget our need either. Because it’s easy, after you’ve been a believer for a long time…even a couple of weeks. The devil does this thing where he makes you think you don’t need mercy as much as you used to…
Now, you’ve been to church for a couple of months.
Now you’ve been serving in church.
Now there have been like 50 people who have joined church since you did so…you don’t need mercy as much as they do.
We are still sinners.
We still have a deep need for God’s mercy.
We will always have a deep need for God’s mercy.
Take a moment each day. Start with a prayer. Look humbly at your life. Confess your sins. Consider your need for mercy. Ask God for mercy and praise him that you have received it in Jesus Christ your Savior.
This keeps you from thinking you don’t need mercy.
This keeps you from running away from the very mercy that you so desperately need.
(2) Be Merciful
Briefly think about the disciples in this section – They tried to stop the blind beggar from meeting with Jesus. They figured that the man didn’t deserve time with Jesus.
But what they had forgotten is that they didn’t deserve it either.
And that’s the point.
Jesus’ mercy is always undeserved.
If you have it, it’s underserved.
If you are considering sharing it, don’t look for deserving individuals – the only one you’ll find is Jesus – and he doesn’t need it!
Share his mercy with the undeserved.
In other words – share it with people.
Do this right now:
Think about people that you know.
Think about the biggest sinners.
The ones that upset you most.
The ones that have repeatedly ignored your requests to come to God.
The ones that you think don’t deserve God’s mercy.
Got them in your minds?
Here’s what God wants you to do – God wants you to have mercy.
Here’s one way to have mercy:
Take an invite card.
Share the message of Jesus with them.
Invite them to Easter.
Have mercy by inviting them to hear the message of mercy – this Easter.
Because that’s what disciples do.
We share God’s undeserved mercy with the undeserving of mercy because we have received his undeserved mercy. PRAISE GOD!
May God have mercy and bless our outreach of mercy. Amen.