Day 16

Give Thanks for Mercy

from the reading plan

Luke 7:36-50, Ephesians 2:4-10, 2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Changing our perspective often helps us see things we couldn’t otherwise see. This is one of the reasons I like to go to the mountains every so often. In the relatively flat landscape of the Midwest, there just isn’t much in the way of challenging terrain around me. But if you put me in the Rocky Mountains, my perspective changes along with the elevation. Summiting the peak of one of Colorado’s fourteen-thousand-foot mountains is more than a challenge; it’s beyond me. Whether or not I make it all the way to the top, the change in perspective I gain helps me see my life and my heart more clearly.

We often need our perspective on God’s mercy to be challenged so it can be changed. In Luke 7, Simon, who is a Pharisee and a respected religious leader in his community, hosts a dinner for Jesus. In today’s world, such an evening would include classical music, proper attire, and fine dining. It is supposed to be an elegant evening. But then “a woman in the town who was a sinner” enters the scene and washes Jesus’s feet with her tears before anointing them with expensive perfume. Her presence and her actions could hardly be more scandalous.

As Simon mentally objects to what she was doing, Jesus blindsides him with a parable meant to challenge his perspective and ours. He asks who will appreciate being forgiven a debt more: someone who owes a lot or someone who owes a little? The answer, of course, is the person who owes a lot. The point is that the “sinful” woman had been forgiven a huge debt of sin, so she showed a lot more love to Jesus than the self-righteous Pharisees, who believed themselves to be pretty good people living pretty great lives.

If we evaluate ourselves from the flatlands of our own righteousness for too long, we may become convinced we’re not that bad, that we’re doing okay. We might reason that since we haven’t committed any terrible sins like murder, we’re actually respectable people who associate with a respectable Jesus. But when we see ourselves and our righteousness from the high mountain peaks of God’s holiness, we see our true condition much more clearly. Instead of being “nice people” who have it all together, apart from Christ we were actually “dead in [our] trespasses and sins” and “by nature children under wrath” (Ephesians 2:1,3). For all our imagined respectability, we stood under the curse of God before receiving His mercy.

We must look from Jesus’s vantage point if we are to be truly thankful for God’s mercy. We have been forgiven much, so we can love much. We have been rescued by God’s grace, which we didn’t earn but received through faith. Standing on the mountain of God’s mercy and kindness should cause our hearts to explode with joy and thankfulness. He is so kind! Let’s give thanks today, brothers, for His unfailing mercy and love.

Written by Jeremy Writebol

Post Comments (3)

3 thoughts on "Give Thanks for Mercy"

  1. Graham says:

    “Dead in sins” describes a hopeless condition of being separated from God.

    What removes our separation? Salvation by Christ Jesus.

    Faith is how we acquire salvation. Salvation by grace through faith comes as God’s gift, not by works.

    Grace extends through more and more people so it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.

    Afflicted, but not crushed.
    Perplexed, but not in despair.
    Persecuted, but not abandoned.
    Struck down, but not destroyed.

    We carry Jesus’ death in our body, so we may display His life and death in our own mortality.

    We have been forgiven much so we can love much.

  2. Troy says:

    Thinking that I’m a pretty good person living a pretty good life may be one of the biggest dangers for me personally. Better to be desperate for God’s continued mercy and grace because you understand the true condition of your heart. Surely God’s grace and sanctification have brought me a long, long way, but the plank remains; and my tendency to focus on others’ specks is the natural inclination of my heart. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. A forgiven sinner, but a sinner nonetheless.

  3. Jacob Moon says:

    I know that I have been forgiven, and we here it so often but it’s so easy to write it off and keep living how we do without truly understanding how grateful we should be! I myself have been diving into my relationship more with God than ever before and it’s still easy to go through the day thinking “I’m fine” or “I haven’t done anything really bad so I’m ok”. I couldn’t be more wrong, yes I am good, and saved in the eyes of God but that doesn’t mean I can change my lifestyle or how much thanks I give!

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