“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) This passage is scary because we recognize how inconsistently we show mercy to others. We expect mercy from other people, but we hold grudges against those who wrong us. We forget that willingness to forgive others their trespasses is a sure sign of a forgiven heart that rests in Jesus alone for salvation (Matthew 6:14–15).
Thanks be to God, for God shows mercy to us even when we are not merciful to others. When we turn to God in faith and repentance, God showers us with mercy. And when we are merciful to others in Jesus’ name, He tells us in this week’s passage, we receive mercy from the Lord (5:7). But what does it mean to show mercy?
In John 7:52 – 8:11, the scribes and the Pharisees test Jesus by using the woman caught in adultery. At first glance, Jesus appears to be in a no-win situation. If Jesus explicitly agrees that the woman deserves death, the Pharisees can complain to the Roman authorities who prohibit first-century Judea from imposing the death penalty for such crimes—Essentially, they can accuse Jesus of sedition. But if He denies that death by stoning is the appropriate penalty for adultery under the Mosaic law (Lev. 20:10), the Pharisees can charge Him with heresy for denying the Law.
Jesus’ response is amazing. He agrees that execution is a proper sentence on the woman agreeing with the would-be executioners that the woman deserves death but, He corners the executioners — calling on those who are without sin (John 8:7-8) to carry out the execution. None are worthy of this proclamation, and so they drop their stones and turn away one by one (v. 9).
There is only one person there without sin — the God-man Christ Jesus. Though it would be right for Him to execute her, Jesus does not do so. Instead of invoking justice on the spot, Jesus shows her mercy (vv. 10–11). Join us this week at Sedona United Methodist Church as Rev. Fred Mast continues an 8-week sermon series on the Beatitudes in a message entitled “The Master of Mercy”.
Sunday mornings we enter the spirit of worship at 9:30 a.m. featuring meaningful times of prayer, joyous music, and life messages that will help move you closer in your relationship with Christ. Our worship is upbeat and lively, and Holy Spirit filled! Immediately following worship, you are encouraged and invited to stay and join us in our Fellowship Hall for the friendliest and best fellowship time anywhere featuring delicious snacks and great coffee and always friendship.
We offer several weekly book and bible studies: Wednesday’s our Men’s Bible Study at 9am; and Thursday’s our Women’s Bible Study at 9:45am. So many great missions, ministries and events happening at Sedona UMC — Visit us on our website www.sedonaumc.org and “Like” us on Facebook. We would love to pray for you! — Prayer requests may be submitted online or by calling us at (928)282-1780. We are conveniently located at 110 Indian Cliffs Road off the Back O’ Beyond roundabout on Route 179 in Sedona. All are welcome at Sedona UMC — Come and grow with us!