Mercy Over Sacrifice

Okay, let’s milk the scriptures again. The Bible says in the book of 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 2 that “Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”

In the book of Matthew chapter 12 verses 9 to 14, it records that “Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.”

The Pharisees were very good in keeping certain commandments of God, but one thing they forgot is to be good and merciful to others. They were very good in keeping many of God’s laws but they forgot the one of to do good to others, and love one another. The Bible records that the Sabbath is supposed to be a day set aside to rest, and worship God, commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested from creation on the seventh day. So during the Sabbath day, it was lawful they rested and abstinence from work and have more time to worship God. And I think the Lord Jesus was trying to teach and tell them, yes, God is pleased that you keep the Sabbath day, but yet they should not use it as an excuse for them not to do good, and show mercy to others. And He asked them, “Who among them after finding one of his sheep fallen into a pit and refuse to pull it out just because it was Sabbath? How much more value then is a man than a sheep?” And then He said to them, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

There is another time also as recorded in the book of Matthew chapter 9 verses 9 to 13, it says, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. “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 saw 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.”

As you can see, this is another issue that the Lord Jesus had with Pharisees. They were really full of themselves, did their best to frustrate and challenge the Lord Jesus and His ministry because of their spiritual blindness and lack of understanding, but Jesus knew how to handle them each time they tried to trap Him. And He told them, I didn’t come for you; I came for those who need Me. I didn’t come to save those who think are righteous, but those who know they are struggling with sin issues. So once again He said to them, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’”

It looks like the Pharisees were also too righteous to hang out or be seen with sinners, and were very easy to point them out, rather than influencing them in a good way to change their ways. So when they saw the Lord Jesus hanging out with us, it bothered them. And the Lord Jesus responded to them saying, “I am a Physician, unlike you, I know Who I am. In fact, I’m hanging out with them because they are my patients, and I want to help them. It is because of them, and for this purpose to help and save them, I left heaven and came to planet earth.” I mean, that is not exactly what He said, but you get my point. Here is another way to see this; you really don’t have to participate in my misconducts to show me mercy, to pray for me, show me kindness and be good to me, or influence me to want to become a better person than I already am. Just because the Lord Jesus is in and with us, and hanging with us, it doesn’t mean He participates in our misconducts. Usually it’s quite the opposite; He would be helping us to save us from committing those misconducts.

There is also this one time the Lord Jesus shared with them and His disciples, “A parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.” In the book of Luke chapter 18 verses 9 to 14, it records that “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Bible says we are all short of God’s glory. And if there were another way we can be made righteous, we wouldn’t need a Savior. In the book of Romans chapter 3 verses 22 to 26, Apostle Paul said that “Men become right with God by putting their trust in Jesus Christ. God will accept men if they come this way. All men are the same to God. For all men have sinned and have missed the shining-greatness of God.  Anyone can be made right with God by the free gift of His loving-favor. It is Jesus Christ Who bought them with His blood and made them free from their sins. God gave Jesus Christ to the world. Men’s sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ when they put their trust in Him. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to show how right He is. Before this, God did not look on the sins that were done. But now God proves that He is right in saving men from sin. He shows that He is the One Who has no sin. God makes anyone right with Himself who puts his trust in Jesus.”

The Pharisees were depended on their own self-righteousness. And the Lord Jesus was trying to hint them that I’m not invalid, but you are. They counted how many times they prayed and tithed….hahaha. And I don’t think the Lord had an issue with this, but it is for the fact that they trusted in themselves and their acts that they were righteous, and they despised others.  And He said that is not how we should do it, instead of exalting ourselves with self-righteousness, its best if we humble ourselves before God and depend on His righteousness for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

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