Live Like a King

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

Posted on: June 23, 2009

Last night, at Ladies’ Bible Study, I realized something…when rebuking the Pharisees, Jesus twice used the same Scripture. Hosea 6:6 “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The first time (in Matthew at least) was when He had dinner at Matthew’s house and the Pharisees were criticizing Him about eating with tax collectors and sinners. I can just imagine His smirk when He says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” then see His face change to a little anger as He says, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the “righteous,” but sinners, to repentance. (Matthew 9:12, 13) I added the quotes. If He were alive today, would He have given a little sarcastic lilt to the word “righteous?”

Jesus also used this Scripture in Matthew 12:1-9. Jesus and His disciples are walking to the synagogue and they pass by a grain field. The disciples are hungry and pull off the fat heads of grain and eat as they walk by. Apparently some Pharisees are nearby and they complain to Jesus, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath! So Jesus gives them a little history lesson, reminding them of the time David ate the showbread from the Tabernacle and the fact that even priests break the Sabbath by performing their duites. He then says, ““Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Right after this, He goes into the synagogue and heals a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath, then rebukes the Pharisees again for their anger at His actions. Then they go out and plot to kill Him.

This has had me thinking. I’m not sure if Jesus used this other times. But I do know that the priciples of mercy, not sacrifice are reiterated by Paul in 1 Corithians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

We can act as “righteous” as we want, but if it is not out of genuine love, God counts it as nothing.


1 Response to "Mercy, Not Sacrifice"

Sooo convicting, isn’t it?? God has really been working on me the last few years to temper my actions with mercy and grace … I’m so not there yet, but am definitely more aware now!

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