Do I know what this means?


What do you sense the Lord saying to you in this passage?

“Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:13)
For the Pharisees, obeying God’s laws was of utmost importance.
God commanded the sacrifices as part of Moses’ Law, therefore they must obey.
God commanded separation from sin and sinners also, therefore they must obey.
The problem is that they misunderstood God’s commands against sin and sinners.
The intent was to keep them from sinning, not to keep them from loving.
The Pharisees turned ‘holiness’ (not sinning) into a sin (not loving).
God remains separate from sinners in sin, but not separate from sinners in mercy.
Jesus does not join the ‘sinners’ in their sin, but He does join them in mercy.
To help them, to restore them, to show them the way into God’s love and goodness.
Mercy has always been God’s way – how could He work with humans otherwise?
As society’s views on morality and faith change, how do we as Jesus followers respond?
How do we relate to someone whose morality is a concern?
Too many Christians are following the way of the Pharisees.
We too need to learn what this phrase means: God desires mercy, not sacrifice!
Lord, help us to excel at mercy, even as we struggle to know what it means to be holy and to obey.


  1. Lord Jesus forgive my self-righteousness. Guide me o Holy Spirit to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my Lord that I will be in this world but not of this world. Fill me with the knowledge of your will and understanding O Father I ask through Jesus Christ my Saviour.

  2. In this passage, Matthew, the tax collector, is chosen by Jesus to follow Him. When Jesus and His disciples are eating with Matthew and other tax collectors at Matthew’s house, the Pharisees question Jesus’ actions. Jesus responds with His desire: mercy not sacrifice (or in another translation: compassion not religion). Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see when I act like a Pharisee and help me to demonstrate compassion instead.

  3. I’m thinking that mercy has heart – true empathy and concern/connection with others – sacrifice can be giving without involvement. Jesus ate with ‘sinners’ because he was concerned for them – his mercy reached beyond the judgement- he didn’t sacrifice anything except maybe the image of what a ‘respected pious rabbi/teacher should look like in their eyes. Jesus expects me to have a merciful heart as well – and really when I do I’m sacrificing nothing – sure maybe inconvenience, alternative uses of my time – but in terms of Kingdom values – nothing. Thinking about those who came to the closed door saying: we did this and that for you – and Master saying I don’t know you.

  4. The doctor come to those who need him to heal body, soul, spirit.
    Christ Jesus comes to those who need Him to heal body, soul, spirit.
    The religious leaders did not want to concern themselves in need and stayed aloof. Distant. Separated.
    I need to be an instrument of His peace and show the love of Christ to those who are broken. Stand up for Jesus.

    Stand up! stand up for Jesus!
    Stand in His strength alone;
    The arm of flesh will fail you;
    Ye dare not trust your own.
    Put on the Gospel armor,
    And, watching unto prayer,
    Where duty calls, or danger,
    Be never wanting there.

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