Don’t you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others?” If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine.
The Scriptures say, ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ You don’t really know what that means. If you understood it, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong.
The Scripture says, ‘I want ·kindness more than I want animal sacrifices [L mercy and not sacrifice; Hos. 6:6].’ If you ·understood [had known] what these words mean, you would not have ·judged those who have done nothing wrong [condemned the innocent/guiltless].
The Scripture says, ‘I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices.’ You don’t really know what those words mean. If you understood them, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong.
“Haven’t any of you read in the Law that every Sabbath day priests in the Temple can break the Sabbath and yet remain blameless? I tell you that there is something more important than the Temple here. If you had grasped the meaning of the scripture ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’, you would not have been so quick to condemn the innocent! For the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath.”
“There is far more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this Scripture meant—‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’—you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath; he’s in charge.”
Do you not understand what the prophet Hosea recorded, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”? If you understood that snippet of Scripture, you would not condemn these innocent men for ostensibly breaking the law of the Sabbath.
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