DAY 2 - OUR GREAT NEED – HIS GREAT MERCY
Have you ever needed something, but you didn’t know how (or who) to ask for it? Or had a need met you weren’t even aware of until it came to pass? That was me 35 years ago. I was lost and didn’t even know it. I needed God’s mercy. And on my 30th birthday, right here at ALFC God met that need when I received Christ. (I turned 65 a week ago today!)
What does God’s mercy look like? Jesus! Jesus is God’s ultimate act of unfailing love in human form. Think of it: God’s great mercy “caused” us to be born again to a living hope, through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection! Simply put, that is the gospel!
The Amplified Bible paraphrases today’s verse like this: “Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). No wonder Peter declared: All praise to God!
Speaking of being born again, some of the most mysterious and wondrous passages in the Bible are in John 3 when the Pharisee, Nicodemus, came to Jesus in the night. Nicodemus said to Jesus, “We all know that God has sent you to teach us…” (vs 2). So, Jesus teaches him. Jesus tells Nicodemus about this living hope Peter is referring to in today’s scripture (being born again). Through a work of the Holy Spirit, this living hope is the transfer from death to life in Christ and adoption into God’s family through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is God’s great mercy!
The mercy of God the Father was foretold through the prophet Isaiah when the Lord said that His salvation was coming (Isaiah 51:4-5), that it would come through His own suffering, and that through His suffering He would redeem His people (Isaiah 63:7-9).
The mercy of God knows and sees. He knows we are without hope (Ephesians 2:12), and He sees that we are lost (Luke 19:10). The mercy of God seeks and finds (Luke 15:4-7).
The mercy of God intervenes and saves. We deserve death as payment for our sins, but instead of giving us what we deserve, God sent His Son to die in our place (Rom 5:8).
- The mercy of God forgives. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, our sin debt is paid, and we are forgiven (1 John 2:1-2).
- The mercy of God listens. He hears the cry of the humble heart (Ps 30:10), and the prayers of those who believe and trust in Him (Heb 4:16).
- The mercy of God responds. God shows us mercy when we are merciful to others (Matt 5:7, 18:33, James 2:13, Jude 1:22-23).
- Finally, the mercy of God continues: He protects, comforts, leads, guides, provides…repeat (Ps 23, Ps 25).
This is God’s great mercy!
Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve and instead giving us what we need. How can we show mercy to others? Here’s an idea to get you started: If someone does something mean to you, do something nice to them. Forgiveness is another way we show mercy, just like God did for us. Make a list together of the ways you can show mercy to one another.
PRAYER & REFLECTION
- Look up the word mercy in the Bible. Search for descriptors of God’s mercy. Make a list to reflect on in the days ahead. Here’s a start: God’s mercy is Unmerited (Rom 9:16), Personal (Rom 9:18), Intentional (Col 3:12), Not to be despised (Gal 1:6, 6:14-16).
- Reflect on how God has shown His mercy toward you. When we show mercy to another person, we are modeling the mercy of God. How can you show mercy to someone today?