LEARNING THE MEANING
“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice...But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”
(Matt. 9:13; 12:9)
GETTING PAST THE EXTERNAL
The ritualistic, legalistic Pharisees of Jesus day could truly be called, “Hardshell Religionists.” His was a day that put great emphasis on the external works of the flesh and had little, or no, concern with the workings of the heart. Because of this, they had become exceedingly hard and harsh in dealing with the less fortunate, the unenlightened.
CORRECTION FROM THE SCRIPTURES
Jesus directs their attention to what God said in Hosea. He shows them God is much more interested in seeing mercy extended to the needy than a heartless show of sacrifice to Him.“ Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law...mercy...these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
REBUKED FOR WILLFUL IGNORANCE
Our Lord rebukes both them and us for not knowing something we should have, and could have, known. The moral standard of the Law, He teaches, takes precedent over its ceremonial requirements. The main focus to always be on the former.
THE LETTER AND THE SPIRIT
It is not good enough to know the “letter” of the scripture; we must by the Spirit learn the meaning. And then, APPLY IT! Like our beloved Paul admonishes, “...shew[ing] mercy, with cheerfulness.”
“It’s difficult indeed, if not impossible, to live at the Mercy Seat and not be merciful to others who desire it.”