Just Mercy

Read This Week: Matthew 20

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. – Matthew 20:29-34 NIV

Mercy is an alluring yet complex emotion for all of us. We love the idea of mercy, especially when we are the recipients of it. We can have an indifferent view of it when it applies to others in general, and we can struggle to give it when someone has done us wrong. But mercy is a powerful thing to observe, feel, apply, and experience. Nothing touches the heart and soul more than when kindness or forgiveness is expressed to someone who does not deserve it or when mercy is shown to people in difficult or even desperate situations. Just mercy alone can change a life, a situation, or an entire community and restore faith in God and humanity.

This reality is on full display in Matthew chapter 20 verses 29-34. Jesus has been teaching his disciples and followers about humility, lowliness, and servanthood. He continues this same teaching with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard and follows it up with a prediction of his death for the third time. He even reinforces our position in the economy of God by telling a mother that her sons must be servants to assume their place in the kingdom. Then, we see this beautiful story of two blind men sitting on the street just begging for someone to see them and have mercy on them. Verse 30 says, Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The two men were sitting on the perimeter of Jericho, where the rich and mighty lived. Many beggars out there hoped that some wealthy person would have pity and give them a handout. But these men wanted something else; they wanted mercy and wanted to see. They did not seek arbitrary provision or pity. The first thing they called out after recognizing Jesus as Lord was to receive His mercy. They were blind, but they had the spiritual sense to see the heart of God and to desire His character and person and not just his provision. They heard what Jesus had done and said, and they believed that He was God, the promised Savior. Many who had heard and seen yet were too blind to recognize the Messiah. These two blind men, however, were among the few who could see Jesus and welcome him into their hearts. 

Jesus hears them, stops, and asks this question, “What do you want me to do for you?” It seems obvious what they want Jesus to do for them, but He asks them anyway. He offered them whatever they wanted and cut to the heart. God often asks these questions of us too. Out of His grace and mercy, He questions us in a way that tests our faith and tests the content and desires of our lives. The Lord wants us to pursue Him the most and to have hearts that reflect the will of God, rather than the fleshly and selfish inclinations in our hearts.

The two blind me just said what was on their heart and mind. The men wanted their sight and wanted the eyes to open, but ultimately, they wanted Jesus. There was no greed in their hearts, no corruption, and no deception. They saw Jesus for who He was, and the motive of their heart was right with God. Their purity of heart and faith was met by God’s mercy, just like He meets us. 

God promises that if we cry out that He will hear and respond. If we seek Him, we will find Him because He is eternally gracious and merciful. The two blind men give us a template of desire and faith as we seek God in our daily lives. Their prayer was simple: mercy, their sight, and for their eyes to be opened. And God answered! Verse 34 says, Immediately they received their sight and followed him. May we go and do likewise.

9 Comments

  1. Jeri Centers on September 16, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    God gave me this word from Matthew 20 verse 16:

    God’s calling on our lives is to a restored relationship to become children of God.
    When we love God with all our heart, we want to serve Him too.

    And to obey his word, then God knows our heart is true.
    God has a special design for our life, one designed just for you.

    God gives a joy and passion to do what you’re meant to do.
    God gives us gifts to carry out His calling.

    God calls us to follow Him and to obey God’s word with all our heart soul and mind.
    God wants us to be close to him and love him with all our hearts.

    What that means to me is there is no work that we can do to pay for salvation. It is by grace through faith that we inherit eternal life. Through Christ’s work on the cross, our salvation was paid in full.

    • Jason on September 22, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      This is a wonderful post from that verse, Jeri. I especially liked these lines:

      God’s calling on our lives is to a restored relationship to become children of God.
      When we love God with all our heart, we want to serve Him too.

      Restoration is a beautiful idea and that is exactly what God did for us through His mercy by offering Christ as the righteous sacrifice for our sins. This should incite love and gratitude in our hearts as we serve HIm.

  2. Heidi on September 17, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Matthew 20:1 says, For the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning along with the dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard.

    Father God is the owner. He is our Boss. He is the commander and is always looking for workers, people who want to serve Him daily. God is calling us daily to be helpers, His hands and feet to go where He leads us to spread the good news. We need Father God to help us to touch hearts for Him and His family.

    As we reach out, may we be apart of bringing new people to God and to know Him more and to be apart of the team to reach out. We live for God and ask Him to help us to love on others.

    • Jason on September 22, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      This is wonderful, Heidi. I’ve always been drawn to this truth and idea: God is calling us daily to be helpers, His hands and feet to go where He leads us to spread the good news.

      I love thinking about how merciful God is in calling us to help Him in His eternal mission. It is inspiring to know that He doesn’t need us but chooses through his grace and mercy to use us for His glory and the advancement of the gospel message and His kingdom on earth.

  3. Sam on September 18, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    God drew my attention this week to Mathew 20 verse 33, They answered Him, Lord, We want our eyes to be open! He said to me through this, “I have given you my sight and my heart so that you may continue to follow Me. And help me to see the need in others.”

    What that means to me is my lord opened my eyes and heart when I became a believer. As a trusting son of God, I have opened my eyes and heart too and am willing to follow Him where ever he needs me.

    • Jason on September 22, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      It is so good to hear from you this week, Sam. I so appreciate your heart and insight always. I love what God spoke through you here. It is a great reflection to all of us that God has not only given us physical sight but spiritual illumination and the ability to see His will as we follow Him.

      This spiritual sight and discernment that comes through God’s mercy and grace, is key to being on mission with Him every day and our greatest need as we live and serve Jesus.

  4. Kathy on September 21, 2021 at 9:39 am

    This is what I got from God in Matthew 20. I will reward and bless My children according to My will and pleasure; not necessarily according to what you deserve. I deal with you according to who I am, not according to who you are. I will never be unfair to you, but I may bestow greater blessings on someone else who seems less deserving, but that is for Me to decide, and not you. Be grateful for all the blessings you have, and do not compare yourself to others and what they have. I reward on the principle of grace. The ability to serve Me is the gift of My grace. Every opportunity to serve is a gift of My grace. Don’t dwell on whether you are first or last. You all share the honor given to each one of you.

    When you were converted, you all became members of the body of Christ. You are all important to the body. Real ministry is done for the benefit of those you minister to, and not for your benefit. As My child, it is important for you to serve others with the right motive. It’s not about you getting something from it. I know what you need and what you want, but it is still important for you to tell Me what it is, to show faith that you trust and rely on Me.

    What this said to me is I can’t compare myself to what others have. I need to be content and grateful for everything God has given me. I need to be so grateful, for the cross, and that He doesn’t give me, what I really deserve. Grace is truly amazing and I need to not take it for granted. It is a privilege to be part of the body of Christ, and we all matter and contribute to being part of the body.

    • Jason on September 22, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      This is great and rich commentary, Kathy. I loved this part:

      Real ministry is done for the benefit of those you minister to, and not for your benefit. As My child, it is important for you to serve others with the right motive.

      Jesus gave us a wonderful example of how to minister to people (especially in this passage) and the motive that we should have when reaching to and sacrificing to serve and love others. And you are so correct, every opportunity to serve is a gift of God’s grace and mercy.

      • Kathy on September 24, 2021 at 2:30 pm

        Thank you Jason! Your words of encouragement always bless each one of us. I also went back to the mountain experience and posted in that blog. Hope you have a blessed day!

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