Lately I’ve been overwhelmed by the compassion of our God.
It started as I read through John this past week. I’m also reading Ezekiel – in fact, I’m mostly reading Ezekiel. But my reading plan included 5 chapters from John as well. And I’ve been struck by the pure compassion of Christ as He dealt with all aspects of humanity.
- He had compassion on the multitudes, offering physical and spiritual healing. Not only did He care enough to bind their wounds and heal their diseases; He cared about their eternal state. He sacrificed His own rest and time alone, to meet the needs of the lost world around Him.
- He had compassion on the religious leaders, as He preached about futility of their “good works.” A less compassionate person would have cared little about the condition of their souls.
- He had compassion on the 12 apostles. He patiently explained things over and over again. He comforted them continually. He washed their feet, literally and figuratively.
- He had compassion on the one who would betray Him, Judas Iscariot. He mercifully allowed Judas to walk and talk with Him during His years of ministry. He shared Passover with him. They broke bread together. And all the while, Christ knew what was in Judas’ heart. He knew that Judas’ soul still belonged to Satan.
- He had compassion on the soldiers who met Him in Gethsemane. He didn’t make them work to arrest Him; He gave Himself up willingly. He healed the ear that Peter impulsively sliced off with his sword. He allowed the men to do their jobs.
- And of course, He had more-than-compassion on the whole world, as He sacrificed Himself in our place at Calvary. He allowed Himself to be torn apart: literally, God being estranged from God. Not only was the physical suffering enormous, but the spiritual anguish was more than you or I could ever imagine. More than we will ever know, in fact, because He bore it all Himself, in our place.
It awes me. It overwhelms me to tears, to realize how much this holy God loves such a rebellious unholy people. It amazes me, to know that God sees Christ’s righteousness instead of my wretched sinfulness.
But it also makes me wonder: do we have that same compassion on others?
If we did, we would never forget the importance of the human soul. If we did, then we would share the story of Christ’s great compassion with every single person we know – that neighbor, that receptionist, that kid from school.
Christ came to earth, in part, to give us an example of how to live. And He lived compassionately – with empathy, with mercy, with tenderness towards others, and with a heart to meet their genuine needs. He gave of Himself in every way to show that compassion to the world.
And yet we live so comfortably! We ignore the eternal plight of our next door neighbor. We look past the gashing hurt of that coworker. We shrug off the problem, because we don’t see how it affects us directly.
But we are Christ’s ambassadors – His representatives in a foreign country. We are His mouthpiece, and so it does affect us directly! It is our responsibility to share His message with those who are foreigners to His kingdom. It is our duty to testify of what He has done for us, and for them.
And how can we do that, if we have no compassion? How can we preach the gospel, and truly let Christ’s love shine through us, if we don’t care about the eternal state of our neighbor’s soul?
Knowing Christ’s compassion will give us a greater passion to help them, in the greatest way possible, by compelling us to share the good news of redemption with them. Living Christ’s compassion will make the difference in their lives – you know the old saying, “they won’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”
So, are you following Christ’s example of compassion? Do you have His love for the unsaved around you, the people you know who are on their way to Hell? Who are headed to a place without any expression of God for all eternity?
Do you have compassion for the lost?
If not, why not?
QUESTIONS for YOU: What is your favorite example of Christ’s compassion during His earthly ministry? Now what application can you draw from that example, to your life today? How can you pray about showing that same compassion to the unsaved people around you?