Mercy over sacrifice!

Scripture reading for April 21st: Matthew 12, Psalm 80, Proverbs 18

Matthew 12: 9-14 “He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”--so that they might accuse Him. He said to them, “Which of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, how to destroy Him.”

Jesus was continually trying to instruct the religious leaders on the real heart of God: showing mercy over keeping rules or sacrifice. They continually sought to trap Him or judge Him in matters concerning the law. Here, they confronted Jesus about if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Was healing forbidden as a form of work that did not honor God’s Sabbath commandment? Jesus gave them a simple truth about taking a fallen sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath and them told them that people were much more valuable than a sheep. He healed the man’s hand as a demonstration of mercy from God. They refused instruction like fools, and sought to destroy the Messenger of God’s Truth. This still happens today.

Psalm 80:17-19 “But let Your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, the Son of Man Whom You have made strong for Yourself! Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name! Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let Your face shine, that we may be saved!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to help us understand the heart of God and the depth of meaning in Your laws. Help me to understand how to be merciful instead of judgmental. Correct me when I become like those Pharisees. Use me today to demonstrate Your mercy to those in need of healing and the Good News of a Savior Who is merciful and forgiving.

Proverbs 18:2 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”

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