In our last reflection in this series, we looked at Justice as central to building up Treasure in Heaven. It is part of the triad of virtues — Justice, Mercy, and Faith — that Jesus highlights as ‘the weightier matters of the law’ by which we should be all be ‘weighing’ our actions (Matthew 23:23). Today, we are going to look at Mercy.
You cannot overstate the importance of mercy in both Jesus’ ministry and the Christian life. This is because mercy is central to the character of God. Pope Francis even wrote a book called The Name of God is Mercy. The most important thing about God may be God’s mercy. We will look at God’s mercy through two snapshots from Jesus’ life.
Snapshot One: John 8:1-11
A woman is on her knees, terrified and sobbing. She has been caught in the act of adultery, and the religious authorities are ready to inflict the full judgement of the ancient Jewish law upon her. They are prepared to throw heavy, sharp rocks at her until they break and kill her. They only pause because they want to use this particular legal case as a way to test Jesus before they execute her. “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They are trying to trip him up for being too soft on crime and for not giving full weight to the law of Moses.