The Good Life – Session 5
October 7, 2020
HAPPY ARE THE MERCIFUL
Mercy is God Himself to us in the midst of our .
Last week, you were challenged to express God’s reign and righteousness in your community. Share what you came up with.
Share a time when someone showed unexpected mercy toward you.
As we cross the halfway mark in our time in the , we’re going to think together about how makes us happy people. In this session, Pastor Derwin teaches that happiness and mercy go hand in hand. They’re sides of the same . The good life comes to us as we extend mercy to those in .
Watch the session 5 video featuring Derwin Gray.
Read Matthew 5:7.
We all have ideas about what mercy is and isn’t, but since mercy begins with God, we must look to His character to define it. Mercy isn’t something God does; mercy is who God is.
Jesus shares His mercy with us, which enables us to become merciful. How have you seen mercy at work in your life?
Mercy isn’t afraid of human suffering. Who around you is suffering? How can you show them love?
Mercy is God presenting Himself to us in the midst of our mess. We only know Jesus is merciful because He pursues us. When we were lying helpless in a ditch, He didn’t yell down and say, “Here’s a ladder—climb up!” Jesus jumped into the pit with us, put us on His back, and carried us out of the ditch.
How have you continued to experience God’s mercy in your walk with Him?
Jesus fights for us, even when we’re fighting against Him. As Jesus identifies with our hurts, fears, and sins, we learn to “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Heb 4:16). God’s mercy erases our past sins, is present help in our times of need, and assures that at the future judgment we will hear, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Jesus shares His mercy with us, so we can become merciful, and that leads to a second dimension of mercy.
Read Luke 10:25-37.
How was the good Samaritan merciful? Why was his mercy unexpected?
What does this parable teach us about the kind of mercy God desires from us?
Why should the way God sees people transform the way you see people?
Jesus’ original audience would have expected the priest or Levite to stop and attend to the injured man. Using a Samaritan would’ve been a shocking twist. Ethnically, Jews considered Samaritans unclean Gentiles because they were a mixture of Jewish and Gentile (pagan) blood. Samaritans didn’t think too highly of the Jews either. Culturally, they saw life from vastly different perspectives. But this Samaritan became the hands and feet of God’s mercy to an ailing man.
How can you reach across cultural, ethnic, and generational lines to love someone different than you? What opportunities can you take advantage of?
What reservations do you have about entering into human suffering?
If Jesus was willing to forsake His comfort for us, why do we resist forsaking our own comfort for others?
On the cross, Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself. The King of heaven became a Man of sorrows acquainted with human suffering and sin, so through His suffering we can become children of God. Because Jesus entered into our suffering, we follow the call to enter into the suffering and pain of others.
Help your group identify how the truths from the Scripture passage apply directly to their lives.
How has this study helped you understand mercy better?
What human needs exist in your community? How can you meet these needs for the glory of Jesus?
What boundaries keep you from ministering to people? What would it take to cross those boundaries?
Jesus, please help us embrace Your heart toward those in need. Help us remember that when we were lost and in need, You came to us in our distress. Grant us the heart to see our neighbors the way You do.
5:7. Kingdom servants must reflect in their own hearts the heart of the king. That they are part of the kingdom implies that they are objects of mercy. They are “others-oriented.” What we have received in such abundance, we must dispense abundantly. Jesus repeated the concept in different words in 6:14-15. Kingdom servants are compassionate toward others.
10:25. Expert in the law refers to a scribe (11:45-46,52-53), many of whom were also Pharisees. The question asked was a standard one in Judaism and was intended to test Jesus. To inherit eternal life shows that many Jews thought their eternal destiny was based on their Jewish bloodline and their good deeds.
10:26-28. Jesus turned the tables on the scribe by asking him to answer his own question, then complimented the man on correctly citing Lv 19:18 and Dt 6:5. Jesus did not say that it is possible to earn eternal life by loving God and your neighbor. No human other than Jesus has been able to love perfectly in every situation. Since heart . . . soul, and mind are sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture, the terms here are not intended to speak of separate aspects of human existence. Rather, they describe the total person.
10:29. Having correctly answered the first question, this man asked for an important clarification. Certain kinds of neighbors are of course easy to love, while others, being argumentative or of different religious and moral persuasions, can be very hard to love. It seems that the man hoped Jesus would justify his bias against certain kinds of neighbors.
10:30-32. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a distance of seventeen miles with a descent of more than three thousand feet in elevation, was a dangerous route through desert country. It had many places where robbers could lie in wait. It is possible that the priest and the Levite . . . passed by on the other side of the road because they thought the wounded man was dead and they would become ritually unclean by touching him, but it is more likely that they were afraid of being attacked by the same robbers or simply did not want to be bothered with the inconvenience of helping the man.
10:33-35. The Jews considered the Samaritans to be physical half-breeds who had intermarried with foreigners and who were guilty of false worship. For such a sworn enemy of the Jews to show compassion on an injured Jew and pay the expenses of his recuperation, while two Jewish religious officials did not, would deeply humiliate a Jew.
10:36-37. Now Jesus got back to the question with which this story began: Who is my neighbor? (see note at v. 29). His point was that the Samaritan proved he was a good neighbor by his gracious actions toward the man who had been attacked by robbers. It was impossible for the scribe to avoid acknowledging that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy. Jesus’s reply to go and do the same emphasized that Jews should love their Samaritan neighbors even as the good Samaritan in the story had acted in love toward a Jew.