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Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:9-14

Matthew 12:1-14: The Messiah's Mercy



1.  Jesus was charged with being evil while He went about doing good. Yet, He faced the injustices of men with candor, caring and consistency.

2. Matt. 12:1-14: He was merciful when people around Him were not.

3. Our challenge: To walk in His steps (1 Jno. 2:5-6).


I. GOD EXPECTS MEN TO BE MERCIFUL, Matt. 12:1-8; Hosea 6:4-6.

  A.  To be Merciful We must First Recognize Our Need for and Our Reception of Mercy, 12:1-2.

    1.  “Manifestation of pity...Sympathy manifested in act” (Vine, III:60-61).

    2.  cf. God’s mercy to us, Matt. 9:10-12; Lk. 6:36; 18:13.

    3.  Law of Moses obligated Israel to show mercy, Deut. 23:25.

  B.  Do Not Fight against the Mercy of God, Matt. 12:2-7.

    1.  Unmerciful watch for slightest “violation”, 12:2.  Pharisees’ charge was false – Not forbidden to eat / prepare food on the Sabbath.

    2.  Being unmerciful is often arbitrary and leads to inconsistencies and contradictions, 12:3-7.

            a.     12:3-4: David’s violation was accepted by the Pharisees while Christ’s disciples’ were charged, though guiltless (12:7).

            b.        12:5: Priests’ labor on Sabbath was lawful and allowed – Mercy on Sabbath was also allowed.

            c.     12:6, 8: If priests were justifiable, much more His disciples, for He is greater than the temple and Lord of the Sabbath.

  C.  Mercy is not in Conflict with Obeying the Truth, 12:7, 12.

    1.  Obedience is not to be ignored so that “mercy” may be shown. (cf. Plan of salvation) cf. Psa. 89:14

    2.  Rather, obedience is not accepted when it is not joined with mercy, Matt. 23:23.

    3.  Matt. 9:10-13: Interest in purity nullified since they could not show mercy to those who were not pure (because they could not see their own impurity and need for mercy and cleansing)!


II.  BE MERCIFUL…ALWAYS, Matt. 12:9-14.

  A.  Characteristics of Mercy:

    1.  Being merciful grows out of a merciful heart, Matt. 18:33-35; Lk. 10:36-37; Col. 3:12.

    2.  Mercy is not and cannot be given grudgingly, Rom. 12:8.

    3.  Mercy is an expression of wisdom, Jas. 3:17.

    4.  Being merciful will be rewarded, Matt. 5:7; Jas. 2:13.

  B.  Reasons why we are not always Merciful toward Others:

    1.  We have forgotten and are not thankful for the mercy we have received (Matt. 18:32-33).

    2.  Pride and self-righteousness (Lk. 18:9-11).

    3.  Power over others (cf. Lk. 10:31-32).

    4.  Selfishness:  As long as we feel good about ourselves we forget to care about others (Phil. 2:3-4).

    5.  Unforgiving (Matt. 6:14-15).

    6.  Uncaring (insensitive, do not think of others) (2 Cor. 7:2).



1.  Psa. 89:1-2: We cannot praise God’s mercy while being unmerciful.

2.  Accept God’s mercy in Christ by faithful obedience to Him.

3.  Be merciful to others by always doing them good. (Matt. 5:7)