The Daily Fountain Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 2 March 2023 – The Ministry Of Mercy
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TOPIC: The Ministry Of Mercy
READ: Mark 2:24-3:1-13 (NKJV)
2:24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
2:25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
2:26 “how he went into the house of God [in the days] of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”
2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
2:28 “Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
3:1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might [a]accuse Him.
3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, [b]“Step forward.”
4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored [c]as whole as the other.
6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea
8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.
9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.
10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.
11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.”
12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.
Religious activities amount to nothing before God if they are void of mercy.“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6a). The Pharisees in our text condemned the disciples of Jesus for plucking the ears of com and Jesus for healing the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day. Plucking ears of com belonging to one’s neighbour was not condemnable (Deuteronomy 23: 25), but doing that on a Sabbath day was a violation of the law.
Also Read: Open Heaven 2 March 2023 – Preach The Word
Sometimes, we close the doors of mercy on the religious grounds; they have not met this or the other requirement! Unfortunately, some of such defenders of religious are laden with sins like the Pharisees who condemned acts of mercy and yet began plotting to kill Jesus on the same Sabbath day. What a contradiction!. The right heart disposition places mercy over religion. Be a minister of mercy!
The Lord was grieved for the hardness of the hearts of the Pharisees because they vehemently condemned healing the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day. Do you know that you cannot be a vessel in God’s hand to minister to the needs of men, until you possess a merciful heart? How do you feel when you see the physically challenged or the poor? Is your heart hardened or compassionate towards them? Repent today from a dual nature of religion and hypocrisy.
PRAYER: Lord, please help my heart! Give me a compassionate heart towards those You bring my way. Amen.