BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL
Leslie M. John
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7)
All those who are sensitive to the sufferings of others and show mercy towards others will receive mercy from God and they are blessed. Lord Jesus Christ has shown His mercy towards fallen mankind, whose sin He bore on the cross, and died on behalf of them. None but Jesus alone could do this kind of sacrifice of laying down His own life for others. This was indeed the utmost merciful deed one could do for any other.
In His earthly relationship, Jesus being born in the lineage of David, He was a Jew and therefore, he referred to all the Jews as His “brethren”. There is another great relationship shown in the Bible. It is the spiritual relationship with Him. All those who believed on His name are called His “brethren”. Jesus was not ashamed to call those who believe in Him as His “brethren”. He did not despise the afflicted but suffered on their behalf. God gave power to all those who believe in Him to be called “sons of God”.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12)
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11)
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (Psalms 22:22)
Lord Jesus Christ will come again. He came once as the “Lamb of God” and became sacrifice on behalf of us; but when He comes next time, He will be the King and will judge. He sits upon the throne of glory and all the nations will be gathered before Him. Then, He will separate one from the other, just as a shepherd would do to sheep from goats. He will set sheep on His right hand and goats on the left.
In this “Sheep and Goat Judgment” where God judges all those who have shown mercy and says to them “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” and He will say to all others “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”. The description of those who have shown mercy is elaborated in Matthew 25:34-45). The “brethren” referred to in this passage consists primarily of Jews, who were his brothers, by reason of being Jews. They would face ‘great tribulation’ for denying Him as Messiah. Even though they denied Him, He has undying love for them as He was a Jew. He primarily came to save them. Salvation is of the Jew first and then of the Gentiles. He would allow them to pass through ‘great tribulation’ and they will all call upon Him to save them and acknowledge that He is their Messiah. “…at the name of Jesus every knee will bow” (cf. Phil. 2:10)
Nevertheless, in the light of context in Hebrews 2:11 the term “brethren” not only refers to Jews, but also to those who have been called as “brethren” by the Lord for accepting Him as their Savior.
The Lord says “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” Then the righteous ask Him “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” and “the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. Blessed are those who shown mercy: for they shall obtain mercy.
Then, there is also another judgment where all those who have not confessed Jesus as Lord. They will be judged. It is the final judgment known as “great white throne” judgment, where the books will be opened and whosoever is not found in the “book of life” will be cast into “lake of fire” (cf. Rev. 20:11-15)