|But go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.|
Mercy is a part of grace for man to receive from God. But self-righteous men do not like to receive mercy or grace from God; they prefer to offer sacrifice to God, to give something to God. This contradicts God’s way in His economy. Just as God desires to show mercy to pitiful sinners, so He wants us also to show mercy to others in love (Micah 6:6-8; Mark 12:33).
The Lord says here that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Actually, there is none righteous, not even one (Rom. 3:10). All the righteous are self-righteous like the Pharisees (Luke 18:9). The kingly Savior did not come to call them, but to call sinners.