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The Mercy of God And Healing


Healing is a merciful act of God towards the sick. This is shown in numerous Bible verses which are quoted below. However first we need to clarify what "mercy" is.

In the days of duels, when the loser fell to the ground and the sword was at his throat he could cry "Mercy". The victorious duelist had every right to run his opponent through but the more noble-hearted duelists would heed the cry for mercy and lift the sword and grant life to the defeated foe. Mercy was granted a)to those who asked for it b)who had given up the fight and mercy was c) at the complete discretion of the winner. God shows us mercy but also says "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy and compassion upon whom I will have compassion".

In Jesus we see that He chose to have compassion and mercy upon all who asked for it. In the previous articles in this book we saw that ALL who came to Him were healed and that the sight of the sick moved Him with compassion so that He healed them (see opening article on the Basics). In the Psalms it says God has "mercy on all he has made" (Ps 145:9). Here are some verses that demonstrate the close relationship between mercy and healing.


Two Blind Men

(Mat 9:27 NRSV) As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"

Demon-Possessed Child

(Mat 15:22 NRSV) Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon."

Epileptic Son

(Mat 17:15 NRSV) and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water.

Another Two Blind Men

(Mat 20:30 NRSV) There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, "Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!"

Gaderene Demoniac

(Mark 5:19 NRSV) But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you."

Blind Bartimeus

(Mark 10:47 NRSV) When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Elizabeth's Pregnancy - Removal of Disgrace

(Luke 1:58 NRSV) Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

Ten Lepers

(Luke 17:13 NRSV) they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"


(Philippians 2:25-27 NKJV) Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; {26} since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. {27} For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Mercy & God's Sovereignty

However God always retains control over His mercy and does not cast it around carelessly. He does not give mercy to the rebellious or to the cruel. Going back to the illustration of the duel the victorious duelist would not give mercy to an opponent he knew would get up and continue fighting him at every turn or who had been cruel and merciful to him or others he knew in the past. Such a person had forfeited any claims to mercy - in fact it would be foolish to be merciful to a rebellious or cruel person. God longs to have mercy on us but the hardness of our hearts can prevent Him showing us mercy for salvation - and presumably for healing also. James says that: "(James 2:13 NRSV) For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment." From this we can see two things - if we are unmerciful we will not receive mercy. However if we are merciful than we will receive mercy and this mercy will deliver us from judgment. In fact mercy will not only deliver us it will "triumph over" judgment. See the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18 for a good illustration of both these principles. On a practical level many people have testified that it was after that had forgiven someone that they received mercy for inner healing and sometimes for physical healing as well.

God's Sovereignty

(Rom 9:15,16 NRSV) For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.

(Rom 9:18 NRSV) So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

The Wonderful Availability of Mercy To Christians

(Eph 2:4 NRSV) But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us

(Heb 4:16 NRSV) Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

(Romans 8:32 NKJV) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Receiving/Forfeiting Mercy

(Mat 5:7 NRSV) "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

(Matthew 6:14-15 NASB) "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {15} "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

(Matthew 18:32-35 NASB) "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. {33} 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?' {34} "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. {35} "So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

(James 2:13 NRSV) For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Crying Out For Mercy

In many of the examples above people "cried out for mercy" and indicated they were serious both about God and about their problem - the Syrophoenician woman, Blind Bartimaeus, the lepers, the father of the epileptic boy and many others had an air of absolute desperation as they approached Jesus. Desperation seems to be part of the true faith that breaks through for healing. Desperation does not lie back in luxury with a sense of arrogant entitlement and expect God to be the convenient provider of blessing. Desperation abandons all dignity, all pretence, all pride and independence and flings itself towards God crying out for the mercy needed.


  1. We can ask for God to show His mercy to us when we are sick.

  2. God's mercy, expressed through Jesus is partly due to Jesus being a "Son of David". David was noted for being a merciful King with a heart like God's own heart. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this "type" - that is Jesus is the perfect Merciful King.

  3. If we are a Christian we have access to mercy through access to the "throne of grace" .

  4. We can forfeit mercy by being hard-hearted.

  5. We receive mercy by being merciful ourselves.

  6. Ultimately mercy is God's decision.

  7. If we are a Christian we are already a recipient of God's mercy in Christ therefore we can be confident that God wishes to be merciful to us.

  8. We should therefore be CONFIDENT of God's mercy and go to God for healing based on His merciful nature.

  9. Jesus never refused to show mercy and heal.

  10. He may ask us to press in for that mercy so we do not take it for granted.

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.