04/04/S – The Mercy of the Lord

Leviticus 1:1-17; Mark 1:29-45; Psalms 36:1-5; Proverbs 12:15-17

NT: “Simon’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. So he went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she began to serve them. When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door, and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying… He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:30-35, 39-42‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

In this passage of Mark, we see the mercy and compassion of Jesus – His desire to serve selflessly – fully on display. After a full day of teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum, they retreat to Peter’s house for dinner. Peter’s wife and mother-in-law can’t serve them food because Peter’s mother-in-law is sick. So instead of waiting to be served, Jesus serves by completely healing Peter’s mother-in-law. Then after dinner, the entire town shows up at their front door with all sorts of issues. What does Jesus do? He ministers to them all until the late hours of the night, healing them and setting them free from the demonic. Early the next morning, He wakes up to spend time with the Father in prayer… then heads back into ministry… into the entire region of Galilee. He is then moved with compassion to heal a leper, and to show His care and compassion, He actually touched the leper as He healed Him. That is the Jesus who abides in us and that is the Jesus we are called to follow: not first looking our for Himself, but looking to serve the needs or others.

Psalms: “An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: Dread of God has no effect on him. For with his flattering opinion of himself, he does not discover and hate his iniquity… Even on his bed he makes malicious plans. He sets himself on a path that is not good, and he does not reject evil. Lord, your faithful love reaches to heaven, your faithfulness to the clouds.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭36:1-2, 4-5‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This psalm of David juxtaposes man’s wickedness against God’s immeasurable goodness. In the first four verses, he describes the state of mankind in general. In essence, their lives are so self-focused, they can’t even see how wrong they are, for all that they see, all that they judge by is themselves. They are a walking and breathing, self-confirming bias. They have no fear of God, for they are god. They have no sense of truth or righteousness, for truth and righteousness to them is whatever they deem to be true and right. Therefore, all of their paths and plans are misguided and ultimately lead to evil. God, on the other hand is immeasurably good. His faithfulness knows no end. The term ‘faithful love’ here is translated from the Hebrew word checed. Oftentimes, checed is translated as mercy, but it goes far deeper than that. Checed is described as mercy, kindness, goodness, favor, compassion, and covenantal love. Checed is not passive, it is zealous toward another. So God is zealously merciful, zealously kind, zealously good, zealously compassionate, and zealously loving… and His checed knows no end. We see that trait of God the Father in His Son, Jesus Christ, as we look at how Jesus zealously served needy people.

Proverbs: “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

To complement David assessment of mankind, we see Solomon’s description of a fool. A fool relies completely on his own understanding of things and considers all his ideas, philosophies, plans, and processes to be right. He will not be corrected for nothing that he does or thinks is wrong. On the other hand, wise people listen to counsel. But it’s not good enough to just listen to other voices and other opinions, for those voices and opinions could be coming from foolish people who are led by their own thoughts and ideas. A truly wise person listens to counsel from other proven wise people – and the wisest people of all are those who take counsel from wisdom Himself – the Lord. The Lord who is zealously good, loving, and merciful to those who seek Him.

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