I Desire Mercy


 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13 (NIV)

If you have ever been in court as the defendant and have been found guilty as accused, you hope that the judge would show mercy. Expecting mercy when we commit a wrong is somehow easier than showing mercy to others.  When someone wrongs us, we want justice; we want vindication.

In these verses, Jesus calls out the religious holy men known as Pharisees because they were blind to mercy. Jesus quotes from the Old Testament book of the prophet Hosea (6:6), “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” which the Pharisees knew well. Jesus expected the Pharisees to show mercy as followers of God instead of condemnation.  In the same way, those who follow Jesus are called to be merciful because we have been shown great mercy in that our sins are not counted against us.   

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior….  Titus 3:4-6 (NIV)

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