Saturday, 19 June 2021
Title: “I Desired Mercy, Not Sacrifice” (NIV Translation)
By: Chan Yew Thai

In Matthew 9:13(b) Jesus said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

The context of the above verse, which begins with Matthew 9:9 and ends in verse 9:13, is that Jesus called Matthew who followed Him. Then, while Jesus and his disciples were having dinner in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined them. This was questioned by the Pharisees, and Jesus’ reply was, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

In this passage, we can see two groups of people. First group was the tax collectors who were treated as outcasts because they were viewed as traitors – being agents of the Romans, for the tax was for the Roman government. They were also seen as dishonest because they collected more than required and retained a portion for themselves. Another group was the Pharisees who were self-righteous and would not be seen in the company of the tax collectors.

Often, Christians also behave like the Pharisees – judge unbelievers as being dishonest, corrupt and partakers of vices; and distance ourselves from them because we go to church, serve, worship God through songs and busy ourselves in many activities in church. Brothers and Sisters, this is not what God wants if our hearts are not right.

The original of this is found in Hosea 6:6, which says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” God wants us to acknowledge and to draw close to Him, and not to just go through the motions as routine when we pray, read the Bible, worship Him in songs or serve Him. We must be sincere in our actions and deeds and not just for show.

During this pandemic, many have lost their jobs and have been struggling financially, emotionally and mentally. This is a good opportunity for Christians to reach out to them and help set them back on their feet. We should not only pay lip service, but actually get our hands dirty by doing it through donations, counselling, befriending them and helping in any way possible though we are restricted by MCO (Movement Control Order). If we see the needs of the poor but withold our assistance, we are like the elite described in Amos and our worship will be considered as noise by God and not acceptable to Him (Amos 5:22-23). Therefore, let us humble ourselves and remember those in need and approach the throne of mercy like David with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us when we behave like the Pharisees and help us to come before You with a broken and contrite heart which You do not despise. May we always remember that You desire mercy, not sacrifice.
In Your mighty name we pray, Amen.

标题:“ 我喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀 ”(NIV譯本)
翻譯 : 王靖端姐妹

在馬太福音第九章十三節的下半段,耶稣说: “我喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀。”

以上一段經文由馬太福音 9:9到 9:13,其背景是耶稣召馬太來跟隨衪。 當时,當耶稣和衪的門徒在馬太的屋里坐席的時候,有好些稅吏和罪人和他們一同坐席。法利赛人對此提出質疑,耶稣回答說: “康健的人用不著醫生,有病的人才用得著。 “我喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀。” 這句話的意思,你們且去揣摩。” 我來,本不是召義人,乃是召罪人。”

在這段經文里,我們可以看到两個群體 。 第一個群體是稅吏,他們被排斥在外,因為他們被視為叛徒— 是羅馬人的代理人,因為税收是為羅馬政府征收的。他們還被視为不誠實,因為他們超額徵稅,并侵吞了其中的一部分。另一个群体是法利赛人,他們自以为義,不會與税吏交接來往。

基督徒往往也像法利赛人那樣行事 — 認為不信教的人不诚实、腐败、勾心斗角;因为我們去教堂做礼拜,服事,通过詩歌贊美上帝,以及參與許多教堂里的事工,而和他們保持距離。弟兄姐妹們,如果我們居心不良,這就不是上帝想要的 。

這段經文出自何西阿書 6:6:”我喜愛良善〔或譯:憐恤〕,不喜愛祭祀;喜愛認識 神,勝於燔祭。” 上帝希望我們確實認識並親近衪,而不是只是在祈禱、閱讀聖經、唱贊美詩歌或事奉衪時, 依樣畫葫蘆,按慣例去做。 我們的行動和行為必須真誠,而不只是表面工夫作給人看。

在這場大流行病期間,許多人失去了工作,在經濟、情感和精神上苦苦的掙扎。這是基督教徒向他們伸出援手,幫助他們恢復元氣的良機。我們不應該僅僅耍耍口舌說說而已 。儘管我們受到MCO(Movement Control Order, 行動控制令)的限制,仍應採取實際的行動,通過捐款、輔導、友誼和任何可行的方式伸出援手。 如果我們對窮人的需要視若無睹,不幫助他們,我們就像阿摩司所描述的精英一樣,我們的崇拜將被上帝視為噪音,而不被衪悅納(阿摩司書 5:22-23)。 因此,讓我們謙卑,記住那些需要幫助的人,像大衛一樣,用憂傷和痛悔的心來到施恩的寶座前(詩篇51:17)。

祈禱:親愛的主耶穌,當我們的所行所為像法利賽人那樣時,請原諒我們,並幫助我們以祢所不藐視的憂傷和痛悔的心來到祢面前。願我們永遠記得, 祢喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀 。我們奉祢偉大的名祈禱,阿門。