For the sake of his beloved friend Jonathan, King David of Israel bestowed grace upon Jonathan's lame son Mephibosheth.
"And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually" (II Samuel 9:7).
Mephibosheth was stunned by the unexpected and undeserved beneficence. "He bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?" (II Samuel 9:8). In Israel of old, lameness was considered a sign of disfavor with God. Indeed, the lame could not be priests who made offerings to God, nor could a lame animal be offered as a sacrifice (Leviticus 21:18; Deuteronomy 15:21). Mephibosheth thus considered himself as rejected, and as good as dead. That the king should look upon him was a shock. That David should shower him with the favor of his table even more overwhelmed him with wonder.
If we could fully see the extent of our native spiritual lameness, we would be no less bewildered. In the clearest thinking moments of born again believers' existence, glimmers of light shine upon the rejection and death from which we were delivered, and we fall to our faces in bewilderment. "How, Lord, could You be so kind to me? With all the sins I have sinned, and the failures of which I am guilty even after believing in Christ, whence comes such mercy upon such a dead dog as me?"
From the throne of grace and the pages of Scripture, the answer comes.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).
"With Christ... in Christ Jesus... through Christ Jesus." Our Savior is our Jonathan. It is for His sake that God the Father quickens us, raises us up to sit together in heavenly places, and showers upon us "the exceeding riches of His grace." Dead dogs become living sheep who will forever graze in pastures green with grace. In those clear thinking moments of our earthly sojourn, we see and partake somewhat of the wonder of the "unspeakable gift" of Christ (II Corinthians 9:15). However, only in Heaven will we really understand the extent to which mercy has redeemed us. There we shall know that every moment of our eternal blessedness came to us by way of the sorrow, agony, forsakenness and death of our Jonathan. We shall know that to the degree the Lord Jesus was rejected, we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). And we shall know that a long eternity wherein "the unsearchable riches of Christ" will never be fully exhausted upon us came to us because the feet of the Lord Jesus were made lame with the nails of a cross. He still bears the wounds of that piercing, and forevermore we shall gratefully look upon them with clear knowledge of why God "hath raised us up and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).
"The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 1:14).