Saturday, April 12, 2014

He Had Compassion

For Lent I have not given up anything, actually I am probably consuming more coffee and more sugar since Lent began.  Because you know those Christians who actually honor this tradition mostly abstain from coffee and sugar for forty days.  So instead of releasing the two loves of my life, I have joined my church in reading the Gospels everyday as I sip on my chocolate infused coffee.

I have enjoyed seeing what God is pointing out to me as I have been reading.  You know the verses that capture your attention or the themes that repeat.  These are the places where I want to camp out for a bit and dig for answers and deeper understanding.  

Two words that keep shouting at me as I have been reading are compassion and healed.  These two words followed Jesus everywhere he went.  Let’s look at a few verses.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew: 9:36, Mark 6:34

Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.  Matthew 12:15

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”  Matthew 15:32, Mark 8:2

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34

Compassion means to feel for another’s misfortunate so deeply that one has a desire to alleviate the pain.  This is Jesus.  He had compassion on the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the dying.  He has compassion on me when I am sick, when I am poor, when I am hungry, and when I was dying.  He has compassion on you when you are sick, when you are poor, when you are hungry and when you were dying. 

Too often I miss this truth about him because I am focusing more on the should’s and the should not’s and less on who he was and what he did. Jesus was a man full of compassion and full of power to heal, provide, feed, and resurrect. 

As I follow Jesus I too must see his people and have compassion.  I look at myself and ask do I really see people and their needs?  Am I moved with compassion in such a way that I am compelled to help them or do I in passing say, “aw that’s too bad” or “that’s so sad”? Do I deeply desire for people to be healed?  Am I willing to do something about it, even to pray?

I can’t muster up Jesus-like compassion, but I can ask God to open my eyes to the hurting and to move and mold my heart to be one full of compassion. 

Oops there I go again, looking at Jesus and then looking at what I must do.  Yes, this is a good practice and it is necessary.  But I think I miss so much if I don't take the time to experience Jesus' compassion and healing for myself.  How can I give what I have yet to receive?  I want to know his compassion, not just because I have read the words in a book, but because I have seen it in his eyes, heard it in his voice and felt in his touch.  I want to pause and remember those moments when I knew his eyes were on me, I heard his words of love and promise, and I felt his healing hands and he touched my open wounds.

May I encourage you to be still and know Jesus, the compassionate one and the healer?  May I encourage you to extend compassion to those in need of relief?

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