"Now it happened , as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees say it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 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 9:9-13
Jesus told these men--Pharisees--to go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Do you think they went...and studied? Matthew 12:6-8 shows us what happened when Jesus, Himself, turns to these same Pharisees in a grain field and, after they accuse Him of not obeying the Sabbath rules, 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."
...this leads me to believe that they did NOT take to heart Jesus' exhortation to "go and learn..."
Jesus, the Great Teacher, gave His "students" a task...some homework, even...and they chose to let the dog eat it. What would they have found out if they had done their homework? What would they have discovered about the beautiful grace and mercy of our Lord?
....well, I can't tell you that. Because these men, who loved the law more that their Lord, chose to disregard His task. They chose to turn away and trust their own strength and laws. I can't tell you what they found out, but I can begin to show you what My Savior has been showing me. I can tell you that as I sat there, humbled, at the amount of times that I don't obey His voice, I gained the ability to fall on my face and ask Him to show me what it means...what HE means when He tells these men that He desires "mercy and not sacrifice."
I can also tell you that He's not done showing me. Every day is something new. Every day my eyes are being opened even more:
Mercy, as defined by dictionary.com:
(this is what He desires)
|1.||compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.|
|2.||the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.|
|3.||the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, esp. to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.|
|4.||an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.|
|5.||something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.|
Sacrifice, as defined by the same:
(this is what He does NOT desire)
|1.||the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.|
|2.||the person, animal, or thing so offered.|
|3.||the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.|
|4.||the thing so surrendered or devoted.|
|5.||a loss incurred in selling something below its value.|
–verb (used with object)
|1.||to wish or long for; crave; want.|
|2.||to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.|
|3.||a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame.|
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?