Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mercy Not Sacrifice

Having two sons, I have been exposed to more superhero movies than I thought I'd ever see.  The movie Captain America is one of their favorites, so I have seen that one a few times.  In the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to a young man who is small and weak and has some physical illnesses as well.  But all of that doesn't stop him from wanting to stand up to bullies, even though he knows they will easily over-power him.  This catches the eye of a military scientist and he enrolls him in an experimental program.  Over the course of a few weeks, the young man is placed in a troop with men twice his size to go through challenges.  He proves himself to have a stronger character than all of them because he doesn't want to go out and kill the enemy to prove he is better than everyone, he just wants to stop a big bully.  Because of his good character, he ends up being chosen for the experiment.

Reading through today's reading in Matthew for the Community Bible Experience, I found that Jesus was pointing out something very similar for us.  The Law required certain sacrifices for different occasions.  There were many occasions that Jesus pointed out that God was looking for something greater than just the person who made all the right sacrifices at the right time.  Yesterday, I mentioned how Jesus turned things upside down and showed them that God's reality was very different from our human ideas.  In fact, it almost seemed like the reading for today expanded on that reality even more by Jesus making strong statements as to what it meant to be his disciple.

The phrase that stuck out the most to me today was, "...I desire mercy not sacrifice..." which Jesus said twice in Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7.  On both occasions, He quoted this text from Hosea 6:6 when the Pharisees confronted Him about something they felt was breaking the Law.  Jesus was reminding them that the heart of God was more concerned about the attitudes in our hearts than all the proper sacrifices we make.  In fact, when our heart is in the right place we will make the sacrifices in our life that is required by following Him such as, willing to leave comfort and home in order to do what we have been called to do (Matthew 8:18-22).  We will sacrifice in the way that really matters when we are more concerned with mercy, which sums up the story of God.

Where is your heart?  Pray to God to help you develop a heart for mercy.

This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.

1 comment:

  1. I have two grandsons today that are playing a Batman Lego Wii game. Willing--it's a big word. I want my heart filled with it.

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