• Michael Haldas

Mercy (Unrecognized)


“The people of Bethsaida were unbelieving (Mt 11:21); thus, Jesus leads the blind man out of the town to heal him, so that the people would not scoff at the miracle and bring upon themselves greater condemnation. That the blind man was healed in stages (Mark 8:23–25) shows that he had only a small amount of faith, for healing occurs according to one's faith (Mark 6:5, 6); yet this little faith was enough, and it increased with the touch of Christ. Christ's command not to return to the town (Mark 8:26) symbolizes that we must not return to our sins once we have been forgiven.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 8:22-26)

He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Christ's answer confounds the Pharisees, for He upholds a great principle of the Law—that the wages of sin is death (Gn 2:17; Rom 6:23)—without neglecting its greater aspect of mercy (Dt 13:17; Ps 116:2–117:4; Hos 6:6). This mercy is offered freely to all repentant sinners. In order for us to receive this gift, we must in turn flee from sin (John 8:11).” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 8:7-11)

And He said, “To you it has been given to know the [a]mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’(Luke 8:10). If the blindness were natural, it would have been proper for God to open their eyes; but because it was a voluntary and self-chosen blindness, He does not overthrow their free will.” Doing so would have been not only to “no advantage for them, but an even greater condemnation” (St. John Chrysostom).

‘Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.” (Luke 23:8-9). Herod sees Jesus as a novelty. Christ's silence is an act of compassion, for revealing divine mysteries in the face of such blasphemy would have brought Herod even greater condemnation. (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 23:8-9)

“In the healing of the blind man in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus heals him but also considers the unbelieving population of Bethesaida and cares for them by not exposing them to the possibility of further self-condemnation. He then tells the healed man not to return to that sinful atmosphere. In the Gospel of John He gently but firmly tells the sinful woman simply do not return to your sins now that you have been healed. In Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7 He twice quotes the Prophet Hosea when He says ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ God is all about mercy and He always applies the principle of mercy perfectly in all circumstances even when it does not appear to look like mercy. This is simply because we are often to blinded in our own sin to see it.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

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