"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:35-38).
"When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." ( Luke 7:13)
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
Even when learning of the murder of John The Baptist, instead of focusing on His own grief, Jesus still showed compassion for the hurting and those around him.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Jesus had compassion and love for the sick, the sinners, the lost, the murderers, the drunkards, the prostitutes, the wealthy, the poor, the few and far between. Jesus showed a sense of compassion that as people and sometimes as a church, I'm not so sure we show much of anymore.
Don't get me wrong, overall, I think that the Lord's church is a pretty compassionate and loving place. I just believe that there are a few areas that we can really work on. I only say this because I know that at one point in my life, the people and situations that I feel and show compassion for now, were once people and circumstances that unfortunately, I may have passed judgement on. You know how above I mentioned that Jesus had compassion and love for the drunkards, prostitutes, murders, etc? Let me reword it to fit into our society today to get you thinking a little bit.
God has compassion and love for the alcoholics, drug addicts, adulterers, prostitutes, homosexuals, liars, unwed mothers, promiscuous teenagers, and the broken, ugly sinners, God STILL loves them just like He still loves me and you, despite the fact that we willingly sin and break His heart.
He doesn't turn His back on these people. So, why should we?
Think about the people in your congregations. Think about the visitors that walk in your front doors. Think about the ones that show up consistently. Now tell me, how many of those visitors do you look at, but never truly see? How many times do you see a young women during services and only see the shortness of her skirt but never see the depths of her fragile heart that's simply searching for Jesus? How many times do you see the man with tattoos up and down his arms, but never see his desire to learn the gospel? How many times do you see a misbehaved teenager, but never see their inner struggles and that all they want is know someone care? How many times do you see an unwed mother in the church pew, but can only focus on her naked ring finger instead of her hunger to turn her life around to the Lord? And how many times do you see a saved Christian but never see their broken heart?
Now think OUTSIDE of our congregations. How many times do we look at a woman dressed provocatively on a street corner and only see her promiscuity, but not the abuse or brokenness that got her there? How many times do we notice the homeless on the sidewalk and pass judgement rather than a prayer? How many times are we looking at all of these people and still missing so much? We are missing the fact that they need love.
You want to know something that's really neat? All of these people, the ones that we pass judgement on and may choose to never be seen even talking to, not only does Jesus completely throw His arms them around for a full embrace, but He sits at the table with them. A man so flawless, perfect, and pure as Jesus sits and embraces sinners.
In Luke 7:36-50, we read of Jesus being anointed by a prostitute, while eating with the Pharisees. Simon could not understand why Jesus would let such a sinful woman even touch him.
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.37And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”43Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”44Then turning toward the woman Jesus said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”48And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”49Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
While Simon and the Pharisees saw the woman as sinful and unworthy, Jesus saw a woman who was forgiven and loved. What's even more beautiful than that, is that God does this with us every single day. Through our sins, He is loving, gracious, kind, compassionate, did I say loving already? It's incredible to me that even when sin has taken over my life or heart and I am the farthest away from Him that I've ever been, He still longs for me and still loves me with a love that I will never be able to comprehend or grasp. No matter how far and long I run from Him, He still wants me.
I want us to remember that the Jesus that hung on the cross for the prostitutes and the addicts is the very same Jesus that died for the faithful Christians. I want us as Christians and as a nation to be able to love like Jesus does. I want us to be able to look at the people around us and see just how much they need His love and compassion and not focus on what I can only see on the surface. There is so much more to all of us than what people see.
I want to be more like Jesus. I know as an individual in the body of Christ that this concept can be so hard. I really do. I know how hard it is to only see with our eyes and never truly look with our hearts. But I pray that we can put it in our minds and hearts just how much people need love and compassion. I pray that we can open our hearts to loving like Him.
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35