by Craig Heidenreich
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I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Matthew 12:7).
In this passage from Matthew, we return to the theme of our Sunday devotion from Luke when Jesus healed the woman who was bent over for 18 years. This time, Jesus is healing a man’s arm, but the things he says to correct the people are quite similar.
It is interesting to note that on seven different occasions, Jesus repeated this action on the Sabbath. I think he was making a point, don’t you?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus kept acting this way on the Sabbath?
The Sabbath for Jews was similar to our Sunday – a day we want to keep holy and act suitably religious. Like the Jews before us, it is possible to lose sight of the real goal here.
Jesus wanted to restore a certain attitude to the ‘keeping of the Sabbath’, and we find it in verse seven, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’.
Effectively Jesus is teaching us to please God by showing mercy, not by looking pious. I suppose another way to describe ‘mercy’ is to show kindness to those who may not deserve it.
A final thought worth adding here is that our whole life is to be a Sabbath rest. This means that we do not act this way just on Sunday but always. We express ‘mercy’ (kindness) as part of our worship daily. As we step into this attitude, the Lord helps us.
We pray, Lord, that you would open our eyes to your ways. You are a God of compassion and slow to anger. May we lay aside the outer structures of religion and be people who love others. Amen.
Craig enjoys making friends with people from other countries and trying to learn a few words of greeting in their languages. He says it’s fun to see the joy on a person’s face to hear their mother tongue. When he has some spare time, he is happy renovating the home he recently purchased in Kapunda, South Australia.