“And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him, and behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.’ And the multitude rebuked them, … but they cried the more, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.’ And Jesus stood still, and called them and said, ‘What will ye that I shall do unto you?’ They say unto Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion (mercy) on them and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight ….” (Matt.20:29-33).
“Have mercy on us!” A simple cry. Four little words that in no way describe the details of the situation or the need that a person finds himself in. Four little words that do not elaborate on how much the individual loves the person from whom the mercy is sought – or how much that individual has done in service – or how hard that individual has tried to fix things for himself. Indeed, these four little words say absolutely nothing except that the seeker is in a state of such abject poverty of resources to help himself that he has nothing to offer on his own behalf. He must receive mercy from another. Yet, according to God’s Word, these four little words alone had the power to move the almighty hand of the Creator of the universe every time they were uttered in prayer.
Jesus Christ came to earth to show us what God is really like and then to take our sin and its curse upon Himself to that we could be made righteous enough to be reinstated into good standing with God. As part of His role of representative of the Godhead, He performed multitudes of miracles of healing. Many church traditions would have us believe that He did so only to prove His deity. However, those traditions lack one thing: they do not have the text of the Word of God to back them up. Not only did Jesus not work miracles of healing in order to prove His deity and get people to believe in Him; He actually commanded people many times after a miracle to “tell know one” about what they had experienced. He wasn’t out to “toot His own horn” of divinity. He was here to demonstrate to man exactly how loving, kind, merciful, and powerful God is, and how much He wants to bestow that love, mercy, and power on each of us.
I am amazed anew each time I read scripture after scripture that tells me of people in need of healing, who simply cried out for mercy, but received physical healing as a result of their cry. Why was that? Because mercy – which is the same word as compassion and is used interchangeably in scripture – is nothing more than God’s love and grace bestowed upon one who is not deserving of it and who can do nothing to earn it. Whether that love and grace is needed to erase sin from a man’s heart, drive a demon from his soul, or obliterate sickness from his body, it still requires the same deliberate bestowal of God’s love and power upon one who cannot earn the help that he needs.
In the book of Luke, chapter 17, we see ten lepers standing outside a city, who, when they see Jesus passing by, cry out for “mercy.” When Jesus hears them, He tells them to start on their way to see the priest. Now, these lepers knew what that meant. It was the priest alone who had the authority to examine a leper and declare him free of leprosy. So these 10 men recognized that Jesus’ command meant that they were to go and let the priest examine them and declare them clean and fit to return to normal society.
In Matthew, chapter 14, we see just one example of Jesus looking out over a multitude of people who had come to Him for help, and we see that He heals them all. Why? Was it so that they would be convinced that He was divine? No. The Word tells us exactly why He healed these people. “Jesus … was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” (Matt. 14:14). That scenario is repeated throughout the life of Jesus, and we know full well, from God’s clear word, that Jesus Christ is still “the same – yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8). He’s still looking out over people who need His help – He’s looking out over us – when we are in need of healing – and He has that same compassion on each of us.
In Luke, chapter 18, we see Jesus teaching about two men who prayed to God in the same synagogue. One was a Pharisee who stood and prayed, reminding God how good he was and how he had obeyed a bunch of religious rules. The other was a publican who stood with head bowed and simply cried out to God saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus said that publican went from the place of prayer justified, but the Pharisee did not. It was the recognition that no human effort could merit God’s help, and the simple cry for mercy from an all-knowing and all-loving God that brought the justification. It’s the same recognition and the same simple cry that brings deliverance to us as well– both spiritually and physically.
Dear one, if you are suffering with disease or affliction of any kind in your body, it is important that you understand that God is not waiting for you to obey a bunch of rules before He is willing to make you well. God is not particularly interested in how many times you did something right or how many times you did something wrong when He’s hearing your cry for healing. What He is interested in is how completely you recognize that nothing you can do will pay for the healing that you need – only the blood of Jesus Christ Himself, who took the stripes on His back for all of our sin. Isaiah and Peter both tell us that those stripes bought our healing. They were part and parcel of Jesus’ sacrifice. They are the manifestation of God’s ultimate mercy for us.
So today, if you are suffering, come to the Lord, the Creator of your body – come in the name of Jesus Christ, pleading nothing but His sacrifice, His blood – and cry out to the Lord for His mercy. He gave that mercy eagerly and swiftly to everyone who sought it when He walked the earth. He is just as eager to pour out that same healing mercy on you right now.