Hymnals are such wonderful tools. In a simple book, we have a wealth of wisdom contained in song form. They can connect us to our family history as a Church. If they are designed appropriately, they reflect the theology and prayers of the people. One such hymn is “Amazing Grace” by puritan pastor John Newton. In that hymn, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.” We often sing these sweet words so casually but there was a time where we were in fact blind to the things of God; blind to His holiness, love, and glory. But by God’s grace, at the time of His choosing, and by His Word and Spirit, we were made alive. Only the power of God can grant sight to the blind and I’d like to consider one such story.
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. The city of God which ought to have welcomed her God and King would never accept Him as the Messiah. Jesus said this concerning Himself, “first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” (Luke 17:25 AV) The One who ought to have been most welcomed underwent the most unjust rejection because the people did not know Him. They were aware of His works and words but remained blind. Blind to the truth that Jesus is the Lord, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God.
Throughout his ministry, the Lord Jesus surrounded Himself with all sorts of people, from business men to former harlots. All of them filled with a wealth of different experiences and stories. Yet, the one thing that drew them together was that they had an unforgettable, life-altering experience with the Lord Jesus; grace had devoured their sin. They all came to know Christ for themselves in a very personal way.
In Matthew 20, two blind men on the side of the road cried out to Jesus. The crowds Yet these very crowds who should have ushered them close resisted these men. Yet the two blind men cried all the louder, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” (Matt. 20:30 ESV). The crowds rebuked them, or told them to keep quiet. However, the blind men did not care what the crowds thought of them because they knew about Jesus.
Where would these men be if they would have given up at their first call? Likely, still blind somewhere begging in the Judean country side. Yet Christ heard their call, and came, transforming their world forever. Their boldness in approaching Christ was not a hindrance but a source of hope. Even today we are encouraged, that Christ will never cast aside any who cry out to Him. The call remains the same, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 AV)
Christ does not consider any of our sins too odious for His presence. Though many of us have squandered the time, opportunities, and experiences He’s provided, the call never changes. How can we know? He never changes. As the Psalmist encourages us, “As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness will ever preserve me!” (Psalm 40:11 ESV) You cannot exhaust the mercy of God by your sin. But you must be washed, and made new. No amount of effort on your part can fix that.
Therefore, we need this very same cry upon our lips even now: Lord, have mercy upon us. This Lord’s Day, we will remind ourselves of our need for the Lord’s mercy. We continue to use it in our liturgy, not only because of its antiquity, but because we never outgrow our need for this simple prayer, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” No other words so concisely describe the core of the Christian life. A Christian is what he is only by the mercy of Christ every step of the way. Have you called out to Him? Do not let fear of the past, present, or future stop you. But take these words upon your lips, and find comfort in His pardon through faith alone in Christ alone:
Lord, have mercy upon us
Christ, have mercy upon us
Lord, have mercy upon us.
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