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"I Desire Mercy Not Sacrifice."

Updated on April 14, 2011

“ I Desire Mercy Not Sacrifice “

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is unlawful on Sabbath.”

He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread – which were not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater than the Temple is here. If you had known what these words mean ,’I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12 : 1 - 8

It was one Sabbath day. The Pharisees were always on the lookout for Jesus and his disciples every Sabbath.They were on the lookout to find whether there were any Sabbath- breaking activities done by Jesus and his disciples . If they found any, then they would gain further grounds in destroying the credibility of Jesus.

Who are these Pharisees ?

The largest and the most influential sect in the New Testament times were that of the Pharisees. Their name is derived from the verb “parash” which means “to separate.” They were the Separatists or Puritans of Judaism who withdrew from all evil associations and who sought to give complete obedience to every precept of the oral and written law. They originated as a separate group strictly after the times of Maccabees and by 135 BC they were well-established in Judaism.

Their theology was founded upon the entire cannon of the Old Testament which included the Law of Moses, or Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. They attached great value to the oral law or tradition which they observed scrupulously. They practiced ritual praying and fasting, and tithed their property meticulously. They kept the Sabbath Day very strictly allowing not even for healing the sick nor for the casual plucking of grain for eating by the Wayside.

The religion of the Pharisees is seemingly a whitewashed religion. It is a display of hypocrisy , self-righteousness and legalism. The Lord JesusChrist disapproves much their practice of external religiosity. They have religion, sacrifices and rituals but they have no love in their hearts. They have no compassion for the lost and sinners.

Jesus says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” The Pharisees have not realized that they were not pleasing God with their rituals and sacrifices because they have no mercy and compassion for their fellowmen. They were always critical and judgemental about the failures of other people. They have no consideration for the weak. They always consider themselves holier than all the rest of the people. This is highly detestable to God.

As Christians, we should always desire mercy above anything else. How can we show mercy ? We show mercy first by forgiving all people who offended us. If we regard any iniquity or resentment in our hearts, our offering no matter how big is done in vain. God will not honor this sacrifice.

We also show mercy by not becoming judgemental or critical about other person’s imperfections, weaknesses and failures. We should be considerate enough. We should be patient regarding our brother’s imperfections. It is not a good Christian testimony to react with flare-up at our househelper’s failures.We must be constantly reminded that we are not perfect and had also our failures and times of weaknesses. We must be reminded that God has been very longsuffering in dealing with all our failures and weaknesses. If God has not been lonsguffering to our failures and imperfections where we shall be now ? While we are on earth nobody is perfect, we are all in the life-long process of sanctification. God is not yet finished with us.

We show mercy also by becoming sensitive to the needs of our fellow men particularly the poor, needy and the hurting people. If we can, if we can afford it, we must do something to alleviate their burdens, pains and sufferings. As it is written, how could the love of God dwell in us if we have abundance and do nothing about a poor brother’s need.

If we say we are a Christian, a precious child of God, an elect of God, yet we have an unforgiving heart or a critical attitude about others’s imperfections or has a deaf ear to people’s cry for help and claim we do God a service by being involved in a church ministry, then we are living a double life, a life of hypocrisy, just like the Pharisees who were living lives detestable to God.

Christianity and mercy are inseparable. A true Christian who is truly saved by God’s grace realizes the very great mercy and compassion God poured out on him, will also be merciful and compassionate to his fellowmen. He will forgive other person’s offense against him for he experienced a very great forgiveness from God. Having realized God is longsuffering in dealing with him , he will also bear with his brother’s weaknesses and imperfections.

I may say this is one of the valid test of genuine Christianity. Christianity without exhibiting mercy is not a true Christ-centered religion. We may be active in the church ministries, we may never miss church services, we may never neglect our tithes but if we have no mercy in our hearts, if we have no compassion for our brothers and fellowmen ,our religion is a vanity and highly detestable to God. Jesus desires our mercy rather than our sacrifice.


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    • profile image

      Mutuma in Kenya 

      8 years ago

      That is a powerful message. But i could love you to find out more about the messages of our time through the Kenyan chosen of God, the end time Prophet Dr.Owour @repentant and holiness ministrys

    • profile image

      Mutuma in Kenya 

      8 years ago

      That is powerful message. But i could love you to find out more about the messages of our time through the Kenyan chosen of God, the end time Prophet Dr. Owour

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi James A. Watkins it is wonderful to hear from you again. Your comment indeed is a great encouragement to me.Thank you also for appreciating this hub. Best regards.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      8 years ago from trailer in the country

      this reminds me of one of my favorite verses..."what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly in his sight"....Jesus was the example.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Well, I am impressed with your knowledge of history and your discernment of theology both. Mercy will only be shown to the merciful. Your message here was delivered with beauty and simplicity. Thank you very much. This may be your best work yet.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Ictodd1947 it is nice to hear from you again. Thank you for taking time to read this hub. Your comment is greatly appreciated.Remain blessed always. Best regards.

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 

      8 years ago from USA

      cristina327, this is excellent and yes so true. We must have mercy, and know it is our duty to help others, even if we can only pray for them. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for your inspiration.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Artin2010 it is nice to hear from you. Thank you for dropping by and appreciating this hub. Your comment is greatly appreciated. Remain blessed always. Best regards.

    • Artin2010 profile image

      Artin2010 

      8 years ago from Northwestern Florida, Gulfcoast

      Wonderful, delightful hub. God uses other people to get His message into the hearts of those whom are seeking favor of His mercies and grace. Jesus said, I have came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5;32

      He, came to heal and to teach of forgiveness! Thumbs up on your hub. Many blessings and the peace of the risen Jesus be with you always. Amen

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi James it is wonderful to hear from you again. Thank you for dropping by and appreciating this hub. Your comment is greatly appreciated. Remain blessed always. Best regards.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Amen! You clearly discern the message of the Lord. Thank you for this edifying article. It is so good!

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi fred allen it is nice to hear from you. Thank you for paying a visit to this hub. Your comment is greatly appreciated. Remain blessed always.

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 

      8 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Yor are wise in your understanding. If the church as a whole displayed these attributes of true Christianity we would see the family of God grow exponentially!

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi mattmilamil it is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for gracing this hub and the wonderful insight you posted. Yes I agree with you the heart of christianity is ministry and the heart of ministry is mercy.Christ indeed is our exemplary model of a life of mercy.Thank you for sharing. Remain blessed. Best regards.

    • mattmilamii profile image

      Matthew Milam II 

      8 years ago from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God

      Ministry is the heart of Christianity, and the heart of ministry is mercy. Situations differ among people and the needs will be different from person to person. No one person should set themselves apart from others based on needs or the lack of them. Humility is in understanding that we all are in need of God's mercy through Christ... each and everyone alike. This is the place where we can begin the practice of denying ourselves by following Christ’s example of compassion; showing kindness and mercy to others as did He for all those He encountered.

      Good job,

      "Blessings"

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Greenlily thank you for paying a visit. Blessings to you.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi Dave Mathews, thank you for dropping by and appreciating this hub. Remain blessed. Best regards.

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi "Quill" it is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for gracing this hub and an encouraging comment, it is greatly appreciated. Remain blessed always. Best regards.

    • Greenlily profile image

      Greenlily 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Just as faith without work is dead.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      cristina, this Hub rings with it much blessings. Thank you Ate.

      KUYA Dave.

    • profile image

      "Quill" 

      8 years ago

      A blessing to read this Hub and the way it has been presented touches the heart. THank you Sister for all your though and love placed here for all to read.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      Hi RevLady it is wonderful to hear from you. It is very encouraging to read your comment. Thank you for gracing this hub, your comment is greatly appreciated.Remain blessed always.

    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 

      8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      cristina327,

      What an insightful, truth ridden, blessed hub. There is no greater exhibition of faith than through loving compassion. An excellently written, informative and a delight to read.

      Blessings,

      Forever His,

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