What is mercy? Maybe it would be better if I ask, what does mercy look like to you? In Christian circles we often define mercy as when God withholds what we deserve. Webster’s defines mercy as “a compassion shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power. To be lenient or to give compassionate treatment.” When I say mercy what comes to your mind? Is mercy when we get off the hook, when we get another chance, when we get our way or could it be that mercy is not about us, but mercy is when God injects His character into our lives, into our world? Our text these last few weeks is overflowing with mercy. It has Jesus moving from an encounter with a Samaritan woman that led to the salvation of her entire city, to an open rebuke of the people of His own country of Galilee because they refused to believe without seeing signs, to the healing of the son of a royal official that led to the salvation of that official and his entire household to Jesus returning to Jerusalem for one of the feasts of the Jews. While Jesus was in Jerusalem He visited a place within the city, near the Sheep Gate called the Pool of Bethesda. Interestingly, Bethesda means “house of mercy”. I don’t believe that anything that God ever does or shows us is coincidental. He is careful with His steps, He orders not just ours but His so that those that are willing to see can see and those that are willing to hear can hear. I believe that every day we are surrounded by parables, events that God is in the middle of to make Himself known and that the Scriptures themselves are a literal allegory, meaning, I believe that the Bible is truth, every story happened exactly as it says they did and the Bible is a picture of who God is, what God desires and who we were created to be. So, when Jesus shows up at the “house of mercy” it is not by chance, it is for the purpose of revealing who mercy is and what mercy does. It’s important that we know how to define mercy because mercy is God’s character, it’s Jesus’ work and it’s our calling. This morning my prayer is that we will allow God to open our hearts to mercy, that we will stop defining it and ask Him to give us His definition and that we will see that if Jesus does it then it is merciful and if Jesus has done it for us then we must be willing to do it for others.