“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When Jesus was referencing the words of the prophet Hosea of whom God spoke through…
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
– Hosea 6:6
The better rendering of mercy is love. The Lord God is saying that it isn’t sacrifice and burnt offerings he is after, but love and reference.
Jesus reiterates the point made by Hosea again later.
“If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”
– Matthew 12:7
Jesus is pointing out what the teachers and interpreters of the law had failed to understand from the Old Testament prophets – God wants mercy not sacrifice, that is what alone is acceptable to God.
God gives the highest priority to our demonstration of mercy or love toward others, not observances or sacrifices by means of a religious practice. And for the latter, Jesus points out the error of these teachers of the law finding fault with the guiltless or innocent.
God knows that mercy and love is the most powerful force there is. That’s why Jesus taught that the entire Law of the prophets resides within the two most important commandments, are to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).
One of the most powerful acts of mercy by a human being was witnessed around the world in the trial of a white female and former Dallas, Texas police officer who had been convicted of killing an unarmed black man in his own apartment.
At the trial, the brother of the murdered man, Brandt Jean, turned toward Amber Guyger, the convicted killer of his brother Botham, and said: “I forgive you. And I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”
But his mercy didn’t stop there. He asked the judge permission to hug Amber. The actions of Brandt Jean brought tears in the courtroom, as well as to the millions watching on television, as he did as the Bible teaches, and yet what so many Christians find so difficult to do – forgive.
Yet, Brandt Jean served as a living example to all Christians around the world to follow, showing us how it is possible to demonstrate God’s mercy in our lives.
Anger and retribution only fuel further discord, hate, and harm. Only God’s divine mercy has the power to bring an end to evil. The more we act out of love and mercy, the more we diminish the evil in the world.
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.”
– Luke 23:34
Jesus said these words as he hung on the cross dying. It was an example of his teachings on love and mercy.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
It’s easy to be nice to people who are nice to us. But it takes real strength to forgive those who have done the worst to us or to those we care about. This is the true test of acting with God’s mercy.
in the ultimate act of love, mercy, and sacrifice, Jesus gave his life as an atonement to forgive mankind for its sins.
Jesus died on the cross so that mankind may be redeemed, saying the atonement had been made. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
– John 19:30