Jesus is addressing the disciples and the Pharisees concerning his statement that the Son of Man had the power to forgive sins, as well as heal. Controversy broke out. The Lord was showing mercy, compassion, love to the paralytic. He was not preaching the word to him, but simply healed him. Grace and the law were being tested. All the Pharisees saw was a man committing blasphemy saying he could forgive sins. What the lame man and many others saw and experienced was a compassionate person who simply restored his health.
Jesus was quoting Hosea 6.6 with these words. God was rebuking Israel for being more interested in their sacrifices of animals than being a repentant people. Don’t we face that in our own lives? Building personal piety with all forms of ‘church stuff’ as opposed to being engaged in what Jesus said is important. He had just told them that the well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. And he concluded his comments with; “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt. 9.13b).
When Jesus was entering Jerusalem, his heart attitude was that of compassion for the multitudes. And he knew only one week later, these same worshippers would be mocking and then crucifying him. “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it” Lk. 19.41) Yes, Jesus taught the law, truth, but he fulfilled it by his mercy, love, his compassion. That is what drove him to the cross and saved those of us who were his enemies. He even had mercy on a repentant criminal hanging next to him. Jesus did not preach to him, he forgave him, loved him.
Should we not go and do the same? Mercy over sacrifice!