Jesus: The Rule Breaker

Hosea 6:6a For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

We were shoe shopping.  Well actually it was more like shoe sprinting.  We had exactly thirty minutes in which to find the shoes of my daughter's dreams. 

This all because of a rule.  My daughter insisted she could not attend her function that night without a new pair of shoes.  Everyone would be wearing new shoes.  How could I not know this rule?

Today's passage is Matthew 12.  Jesus fame and popularity is spreading and now threatens the religious establishment referred to as the Pharisees.  They look for opportunities to ensnare him.  Is it okay to pick grain to eat on God's established day of rest?  (Verses 1-8)  Is it more important to help someone in need or remain still on the Sabbath day? (Verses 9-14)  At every turn there seemed to be a rule Jesus wasn't following.  Yet Jesus was the sinless Son of God.  So how could He break the rules and remain pure in God's eyes?

Perhaps there is a distinction between the rules and purity.  In this passage, Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6.  God desires mercy not sacrifice.  He is far more concerned with the condition of our hearts than our ability to follow rules that may or may not reflect the true condition of our hearts.  I have heard it said that if you could see someone's bank account and their calendar, you would quickly find out what they most value.  Where we spend our money and time is a true reflection of what and whom is most important to us.

Jesus demonstrated time and again that He valued people.  He sacrificed His time, energy and convenience to meet the needs of others.  He left behind the comforts of heaven to give all He had for the people He had created and so dearly loved.  His time and His pocketbook are reflections of His heart.  That is how He could break rules scribbled by man and still receive the approval of God.  He valued mercy.

A few weeks after my frenzied shopping excursion, my daughter and I were at another store we had failed to hit that day.  There waiting on the shelf was a better pair of shoes marked with a lower price tag.  We had traded a lesser shoe because we couldn't wait for a better one.  There was a rule and we "had" to follow it.  When I get side-tracked and follow rules concocted by "religious" people instead of seeking the heart of God, I trade the best God has planned for me for something lesser. 

Jesus, help me today to not follow the rules without first checking in with You.  Today may my heart be a reflection of You and Your priorities.  May I have a heart like Yours that walks, lives and breathes mercy.

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