In Jesus’s ministry he was criticized for spending time with sinners and outcasts (Matthew 9:10-11; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32, 15:1-2). His response to the Pharisees’ criticism was to contrast their legalistic “sacrifices" with the sacrifice that is pleasing to God, echoing the prophet Hosea and others. Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Matthew 9:13: “[Jesus said] Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.”
Through his life ministry, Jesus exemplified true sacrifice, a generous giving of Himself in love. He reached out to those on the fringes of society, those ignored, ostracized, or condemned by others, with the good news of God’s love. With his death, he reached out to the whole world. Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of Christ, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Romans 12:1 " I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Luke 21:1-4 “[Jesus] looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all that she had to live on.’”
Doing work for Christ sometimes requires sacrifice of self, time and possessions. In what ways could you give of yourself in love? Please pray.