well i was reading this morning in Matthew and just didn't stop, but
one things stood out about Jesus... he didn't follow all of the
traditions or the rules of the Pharisees. Twice when he is
misunderstood he tells the people to learn what it means that God
"desires mercy not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7. you
might want to read these two stories. But what was is consistent in
Matthew is people questioning his beliefs or his and his disciples'
actions and the one thing Jesus preaches over and over through the
sermon on the mount and then with these statements is that the heart
of the law is not as much about "stopping" or giving up what you want
to do, but more about learning what it means to have a heart of mercy
and love from God and for others...
being perfect but your righteousness surpassing that of the phariseesMatt 5:20...
with those who disobey the standards of GodMatt 9:9-13...
"breaking" the sabbath to do good on SundayMatt 12:7-8...
having compassion andkeeping the needy crowd around when he seems to be looking for a place
to mourn the death of his friend John the Baptist Matt14:12-14...
celebrating more over the one lost sheep saved then those 99 still safe matt 18:10-14.
I guess the lesson that i began to see for the first time was
what it meant when Jesus said "i desire mercy not sacrifice." I saw
Jesus live it out as he put loving those who needed help and love over
expecting them to live perfectly in front of them by the worlds standards. i watched a video just recently called "Finger of God"
where a woman was praying and healing a Muslim woman of blindness but the
pastor translating was trying to convert the woman before praying because for her to really
receive Jesus' love and power, he believed the Muslim lady needed to
be saved, but the woman praying said that God more wanted to show his
love and that conversion wasn't the prerequisite...
i didn't know how i felt about that until i read matthew 11:20. there are times
where Jesus doesn't perform miracles when they are demanded by hard
hearted people, but i saw here that God was healing and performing
miracles even among the people who didn't accept him. Love and
mercy didn't have the prerequisite of obedience.
one other thing i read that was interesting was that Jesus didn't tell
people the truth every time he had a chance. In Matt 21:23-27 Jesus
had the chance to tell them by what authority he was doing these
things, but because their hearts weren't right and it wouldn't benefit
them or him... he didn't share the truth but opted out...
So often we think we need to tell people where they are wrong whenever we have truth or know something they do not, but that is just not right.
There is always truth, but sharing at the appropriate times is important. My
other big lesson in this idea was going from the Sunday School answer of
hearing Job's friends give "bad advice" to realizing, all of Job's friends
were using biblical truth for their answers, they just misunderstood and
didn't apply this truth in the right context because their view of God couldn't
understand Job being righteous or why this would happen otherwise.