Can you find the theme in the following collection of Bible verses?
“While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners”” (Matthew 9:10-13).
““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others”” (Matthew 23:23).
““Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy”” (Matthew 5:6-8).
“Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.”
“You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus took up the question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same”” (Luke 10:25-37).
“Speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has not shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13).
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense” (James 3:17).
““Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions”” (Matthew 24:45-47).
““But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ and starts to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards, that servant’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”” (Matthew 24:48-51).
“But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 1:20-23).
Here’s what I see:
Jesus came into the world to save sinners. When a person realizes that they are a sinner and believes in Jesus as their savior, God shows them mercy. A person who is shown mercy is then expected to show mercy to others.
People who refuse to show mercy to their neighbors demonstrate that they either have not received mercy from God (they are not saved) or they are living in disobedience (they are wavering or have become defiled by the flesh). People in this state need their “dear friends” to have mercy on them.
(Mercy can be defined as, “kindness or concern expressed for someone in need.”
-BDAG, s.v. “ἔλεος,” 316.