Sunday, 11 March 2018


But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  – Matthew 12.7

For most of human and in most of human culture religion has involved sacrifice. Some required human sacrifice or even sacrificing children. Even the Jews required animal sacrifices. Of course our salvation depended on Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross.

But here Jesus is talking about sacrifices in religious practice. The Jewish leaders though that everything would be okay if they were diligent about their legalistic sacrificial system. If you did that right nothing else mattered. This despite the fact that over and over in the Old Testament God talks about love and mercy and caring and compassion. How did they miss it?

Somehow they did, so Jesus makes it clear here. ‘I would rather you be merciful than have all the sacrifices in the world.’

Jesus’s message is clear. Our hearts are more important than our religious actions. When God watched our lives what really joys His heart to see His people pouring out the mercy He has shown them to others. That means that people are more important that our religiosity. God desires merciful people more than religious people. Those who have received mercy should bestow mercy.

And of course, on the other hand, ‘blessed are the merciful for they will keep receiving mercy.’

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