THEME: The Compassionate Jesus calls Christians to be compassionate.
Scriptures: Matt. 9:18 – 38, 1 Pet. 3:1 – 9.
Comments: To understand the description of Jesus as compassionate, and to be able to emulate Him, we must have a common understanding of the word ‘compassionate’.
Compassion is described as a feeling of deep sympathy for any one stricken by misfortune or pain, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain. Sympathy responds to suffering with sorrow and concern while the compassion responds with warmth and care. It is a fact that God is “a compassionate and gracious God…” (Ps. 86:15). His compassion is infinite and eternal. Jesus Christ exemplified all the Father’s attributes, including His compassion.
On this side of eternity since the fall, desperation, helplessness, hurt, and suffering have been on the increase. Thank God that Jesus has provided compassion for every situation. This is the gospel. In the Matt. 9: 18 – 38, Jesus goes beyond pity (feeling sorry) to empathy (doing something to relieve the pain). It was compassion that made Him bring back to life the dead daughter of the rabbi of the local synagogue [identified as Jairus in Mark and Luke]. It was compassion that healed a woman who had been haemorrhaging blood for 12 years. It was compassion that made Him heal the blind and the dumb. Jesus saw all the problems and powerlessness of the people, and had mercy on them. In compassion He prayed for more missionary workers; and the urgent need to deal with sin. Jesus is Lord over death, over disease, and over the Devil. When Jesus saw His friends weeping at the grave of Lazarus, in compassion, He wept alongside them (Jn.11:33 – 35).In response to the suffering of the people, Jesus healed the large crowd who came to Him (Matt. 14:14). Unlike the priests and scribes who despised the common people and neglected them, Jesus had compassion on them, and He taught and loved them.
Jesus wants all believers to follow His example by being compassionate. 1 Pet 3: 1- 9 especially in verse 8 – 9, He states that all members of the family must be full of sympathy for each other, loving each other with tender hears and humble minds. First Jn.3:17 states “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Man is to exemplify God’s traits, including compassion. In 1 Jn 4:20, our Lord states that “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen”. The Bible is clear that compassion is an attribute of God and of God’s people as well. What about you? Search yourself. Do you relate to others in compassion or exploit those under your authority? Have you availed yourself of the Master’s compassion or living in bondage? Shalom. Ven. Prof. Ifuero Osad Osamwonyi
Compassionate Jesus- The Burden Bearer. (Matt 9: 18-36)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is God in the form of man by the instrumentality of his incarnation. He remains our earthly standard as per what God the father in trinity intended man to be at creation (Gen 1:26a). While on earth Jesus was sinless, humble and compassionate. He was a burden bearer to all.
The compassionate nature of Jesus becomes very clear as we live in a world that has become compassion-less. A world where many people including believers are so selfish and self-centred. They do not care about what happen to others except themselves and their families. Sadly some persons derive joy from the sufferings, pains and sorrows of others. Should it be so? Therefore that theme of this meditation will afford us the benefits of understanding of compassionate Jesus – the burden bearer.
What does it mean to be compassionate?
The following are what it takes to be compassionate as a child of God:
1) Recognition of the sufferings, pains, sorrows, dilemmas and challenges of others.
2) Inward movement, to yearn with tender mercy, affection, pity, empathy and painful sympathy. See Matt. 9:36; Mark 6:34; Lk. 15:20, Mk.1:40-41; Lk. 10:30-37; Acts 10:38.
3) Deep feeling with desire to help those in trouble with generosity.
It is the inward movement with the desire to render assistance no matter how small aimed at lifting up the other person beyound mere expressions of pity that makes a person compassionate. Do you feel that way?
With the Spirit of Compassion, you can:
i. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
ii. Not being afraid to defend the rights of the poor, needy and oppressed (Prov. 31:8-9).
iii. With joy bear the burden of others and go extra-mile.
The Roots of Jesus Compassion:
The compassionate and burden bearing activities of Jesus are rooted in his:
1) Essence: Jesus is by his very nature God in flesh neither selfish nor self-centered. The apparent weaknesses and natural flaws of mortals are never found in Jesus revealing in totality the nature of God. (Jn. 1:18, Jn. 14:9).
2) Life Experiences: The entire life was rustic and far from being rossy. He lived an extremely difficult and wilderness life. Born in a manger and sordid poverty he grew up, lived and died with no material possession. John 19:23-24, Mk. 14:50
Beneficiaries of Jesus Compassion
Everybody in his time benefited from his compassion and we are all even in this generation and those to come are reaping the fruits of the seed of compassion he sowed with his blood. In particular he showed compassion to and beared burden of:
1. the scattered (Mat. 9:36; 15:32)
2. sinners (Mk. 5:1-20; Mk. 16:7; Lk. 7:11-13)
3. sufferers, weak and sick (Mk. 1:40-42; Lk. 7:11-13; Mat. 14:14; 20:30-34)
4. oppressed, distressed and vulnerable (Matt. 15:22; Jhn. 11:33, Lk. 10:33)
5. seeking ones and lost (Mk. 10:17-22; Lk. 15:20)
In terms of purpose: the compassion of Jesus are:
1. Instructive: Jesus identified the lack of compassion among his disciples (Lk. 9:54, Mk. 6:34) He needed to them and us about compassion using the parables of the good Samaritan (Lk. 10:30-37) and the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-24)
2. Involving: Beyound teaching, Jesus is interested in getting believers involved in compassionate activities which is the golden rule. Matt. 7:12
What we should know
1. It is God’s will that we show compassion and do good (Gal. 6:2) by bearing the burden of others.
2. When we show compassion we demonstrate to both believers and sinners that we are children of God like Christ (Matt. 5:16, Jn. 13:35 and 1 Jn. 3:17-18)
3. Always see beyound surface expression of the physical to be able to render help to the needy.
It is good silently without expecting any reward particularly to the needy. Be Christ to others. The little act of kindness you show to someone can go a long way to save a soul, raise hope and be convinced that God is ever near – Chukwunonso
Ven. Prof. Mon Nwadiani