Archive for Sacrifice

Mercy not Sacrifice?

Posted in Bible Reading & Study, Christ, Devotional Thought, Family, Gospel, Matthew, Mercy, Sacrifice with tags , , , , on January 9, 2011 by Lee

The pastor of our church has challenged the congregation to journey with him through the gospels. So over the next 40 days we are striving to read through all four gospels. We (the Floyd 4) have been participating as a family. It has been a lot of fun reading and discussing together as a family. To see the M&M’s (my kiddos) interact with God’s word is really something.

Some nights go better than others. (Kids are not always so eager and honestly I don’t always have the energy by the end of the evening.) But most nights the attitude and spirit is good.

We are actually a day behind – but tonight we read Matthew 11-12. For the second time thus far in the book we have come across Jesus saying, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” (He states it in Matt. 9:13;12:8).

I found the statement odd at first. Why would Jesus not want us to sacrifice? Especially, when the implication and command to do so is found in so many places in scripture. But with closer examination we can see what Jesus is getting at.

Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (ESV). (The word ‘steadfast love’ can also be translated mercy.) The ‘sacrifice’ referred to by Jesus is the religious ceremony and observations of the Pharisees (religious). They made a life of doing this and not doing that and observing the sabbath – a very religious, do the right thing kind of life.

However, their religious observance proved to be a cataract on their eyes – preventing them from seeing what was really important. The showing of mercy. The practice of good not just the appearance of goodness. The meeting of needs not obligations. And the practice of principles and convictions not the reading of the rules.

God desires to see the extension of mercy from His follows to those in need of mercy. The practice of our faith is not found in the Bible study, the church going, worship singing, community building or even our praying. The practice of faith is found when our doing of the above results in the pursuit and practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control towards those we come into contact with each day.

Being more concerned about church attendance/participation than about our neighbor puts us the road to Pharisaical success. To show mercy puts us in a place of redemption. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matt. 5:7 (ESV).

Lord help me be a person of mercy towards others – not just a man professing religion.