I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. [Matthew 12:6-8 ESV
The context of this passage is a condemnation by the Pharisees.
They accused the disciples of "doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath".
Jesus' rebuke to these religious leaders points to a truth that transcends written law.
In these few sentences Jesus seems to redefine the whole concept of Sabbath.
When he says that He is the lord of the Sabbath he points us to something greater than a day.
In essence he asks: "Why follow the Law when you can follow the Lord of the Law?"
Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Jesus knew that he was God Incarnate?
When he speaks of being lord of the Sabbath he attests to that.
He shocked them all when he said that he was greater than the temple of God's presence.
Jesus implies that he is greater than King David and priests who minister in the temple.
In saying these things he acknowledges the kingly and priestly nature of the Messiah.
Jesus absolutely knew who he was and left no doubt about that.
So when he says ‘I desire mercy’ he is speaking the the nature of divine law.
He is communicating to them, and to us, about the timeless will of God.
And he is offering us a challenge to act differently.
Jesus, I confess you as Lord. Help me to show mercy today and every day.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.