Thursday, April 12, 2007

"I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices."

A while ago I felt like it was time to reread through all the gospels. I tend to spend most of my time reading in Mark (a personal fav) but I thought it was time to get the whole perspective on the story of Christ again. So the other day I read this cool verse from Matthew 9. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, 'cause they are trippin’ that Jesus would hang out with the likes of Matthew and as they like to label them "scum." So Jesus throws out this response. He says in verse 13 "Then he added, 'Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: 'I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices (Hosea 6:6).' For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." So this struck me, and I thought it was a cool verse. Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 so I went back and read through the whole chapter to see the context of the passage Jesus is quoting. Well today I was reading Matthew 12 and Jesus is back in hot water with the Pharisees because the disciples are grabbing handfuls of grain and eating it on the Sabbath (has anyone ever thought about how gross that would be to eat? Mmmm raw grain, yummy! I think I'd rather go hungry... ANYWAY) Jesus looks at the Pharisees and says, "But you would not have condemned those who aren't guilty if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices." So I'm reading and I go 'huh? I think I've heard this before. So I'm thinking that if Jesus is repeating himself, He probably thinks that this is a pretty important thing. The whole part of Hosea 6:6 says, "I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that's more important than burnt offerings." So here is Jesus repeating that what He is looking for, what He wants us to be doing, be merciful, and know God. He’s not interested in empty ritual, he is interested in people. Not always the easiest thing in the world to do, but a good challenge as we go about our days, so let us be merciful, and not fall into the trap of thinking we are already good enough.

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