Filled With Compassion

Jesus

Filled With Compassion 

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

 

Welcome! Have you ever decided your going to sit down, put your feet up and read a book you have been wanting to get at, or watch a movie you have heard about, or even just close your eyes and drift off for a long awaited nap…peace, quiet, me time, ahhh yes this is good… only to have the phone ring moments later or the kids find you and come screaming about something they need, or someone knocking at the door? 

And so much for that… life continues on…  How do you respond in those moments of interruption, of someone wanting your time and help? Are you willing and glad to help?  Are you resentful or grumpy? Do you dismiss them altogether and go back to what you were doing? Does it depend? 

More than likely it depends right? It depends on Who, What, and Why someone is coming to you. It depends on where your heart is in that moment. Is it self-focused or kingdom-focused? Are you offering yourself as a willing vessel for God to flow through and be of service to others, or are you doing what you desire? Are you perceiving the situation with a compassionate heart? 

 

It all depends on these variables as to how we respond.

 

Don’t misunderstand me, we all definitely need times of rest and quiet. God will surely provide those as we let Him guide our days, and we are also to be responsive to what the Spirit is doing and live to serve God and others. So often, our scheduled times of rest, may be interrupted when God is on the move. Do we see the needs and do we respond to the needs? Sometimes the greatest moments that have the biggest impact in others’ lives come to us via interruptions to our day. If we can remember this, it can help keep our perspective kingdom focused when they suddenly appear. 

 

We are looking at Jesus and what He modeled while on earth. This week we’ll be focusing on His heart that is filled with compassion. We see God proclaim this about Himself to Moses, in Exodus 34:6 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”. 

We see it in practice through the life of Jesus and His ministry on earth. We see Jesus moved by compassion over and over again that we’ll look at today. His plans were constantly interrupted and changed up by people in need. His response was one of compassion. 

Let’s pray.  Heavenly Father soften our hearts and fill them with the compassion You have. Teach us Your ways Father and help us respond to the needs of others as You do to us. Give us eyes to see what burdens Your heart and let us have a willingness to serve as You call us. Amen.

 

What is compassion? In looking it up I found this: compassion embodies a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering.

 

It is recognizing the suffering of others and taking some form of action to help. 

Compassion involves action. When Jesus was moved by compassion, He always acted to benefit those who were suffering. 

 

In order for us to respond with compassion we have to first see and acknowledge the suffering someone is enduring. We have to see them as they are, not through our filters or our opinions of how things should be, but truly as that person or group of people are in their current state. We seek to understand what life is like in their shoes-what are they enduring and subjected to, what oppression they are living under, what pressures and persecution they face, what traumas have happened that have led them to the position they are in, what is causing their pain. We see them.

If we aren’t willing to see, then we won’t be moved by compassion. We will make judgments based on our experience, our understanding and our position. It’s easy for any one of us to sit back on our self-made thrones and cast judgment on others-we’re human. We all do it from time to time and maybe more so in certain situations. In these moments we don’t take time to get off our throne and get our hands dirty walking among the hurting and the suffering, instead we let our opinions fly about what they should be doing to make their life better, to get their act together, or we just look away and pretend that issue isn’t really happening. We don’t want to acknowledge it’s real or do the hard work to really change things, so we ignore it. 

Have you been there? I know I have. This is our human nature at times. 

 

There are overwhelming amounts of suffering happening in the world. Many huge things that are systemic and so deeply embedded into society we wonder can it ever change. Many are global. Many date back hundreds if not thousands of years. Many hit close to home for each of us and it can be too much to bear at times. 

 

Suffering is part of our world. Not one of us or our church collectively is ever going to eradicate suffering here on earth. We won’t. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33. 

 

Did you hear the key though? “In Me, you may have peace. I have overcome the world.”

You see we are not meant to carry the burdens and suffering in this world alone on our shoulders. We are meant to bring it all to Christ and let His power fill us and flow through us. We are called to love one another, and this love is in action form. We are called to follow Christ, and that requires action. So, we are called to act, but not on our own. This is where our burdens become too heavy, our judgments and opinions determine our actions and our eyes become filtered to see what we want to see. 

 

With Christ in us and His Spirit flowing freely through us, we have eyes to see those in need, a heart willing to serve that is moved by compassion and wisdom and strength to meet that need. 

 

While we won’t stop all suffering in the world, we can absolutely believe and know that as we remain vessels for the love of Christ to flow through, we will make an eternal impact for His Kingdom with every compassionate act we offer. This I see often flowing through our church in a multitude of ways and I pray we always lead with compassionate hearts towards one another, towards our families and towards our community. 

 

Let’s look to Jesus and see what we can learn from Him today about compassion towards others. 

 

We’ll begin with a story you likely know well. But what you may or may not know was what happened just before this famous story occurs. We’ll be looking at the feeding of 5000 + people and why Jesus did what He did.

 

Just before this story begins, we read in Scripture that Jesus’ cousin and beloved friend John the Baptist was beheaded so he was grieving. The disciples gathered John’s body and laid it in a tomb. They had also been out among people teaching about the kingdom of God as instructed by Jesus. So there was a lot going on. They were emotionally drained, physically tired and needing some quiet.  We’ll pick it up here. 

 

Mark 6: 31-37 NASB

31 And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 And they went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. 33 The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

 35 And when it was already late, His disciples came up to Him and said, “This place is secluded and it is already late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But He answered them,  “You give them something to eat!”

  1. Eyes to See (vs. 34)  

 Jesus always had eyes to see what was happening around Him. He noticed people. He really looked at them and saw their pain; their suffering and His eyes were filled with compassion for them.   

 Mark 6:34  He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

Jesus could have just pushed past the crowds, just kept His head down or went a different way just to avoid direct eye contact. Have you been there? Where you just don’t want to see, so you don’t look? Jesus saw the crowds. He saw the people hungry for truth, for hope, for healing, for understanding. So He provided what they desperately needed.

In another time of His ministry Jesus is teaching and a synagogue leader comes frantically to Him and says “my daughter has just died! But come, just put Your hand on her and she will live.” A crisis! Jesus gets up immediately and they are focused on getting to this young girl. 

In route, the crowds are swarming all around Him and there was a woman who has been suffering for 12 years with chronic bleeding. No one could cure her. In those days she was an outcast as bleeding was considered unclean and she was cut off from her family and normal way of life. 12 years this went on for her. She was in the crowd and saw Jesus. 

Matthew 9: 20-22 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

In all that crowd pressing against Him, Jesus made a point to see who it was that touched His cloak, for He felt the power go out from Him. He wanted to see the person so He could express compassion and hope to her. He wanted her to know He saw her in her suffering and in her restoration. 

Jesus didn’t live with blinders on. He saw the good, the bad and the ugly. He saw it and He was moved by it.                                                                 

  1. Willing Attitude (v. 34)     

Mark 6:34 He began to teach them many things.      Other translations will say he began healing their sick. The point is Jesus saw, He was filled with compassion and He acted. He served. He was willing to help, heal, encourage and restore when the need arose. 

The Pharisees lived under the Law, but seemingly found more joy in identifying where people disobeyed the Law then when they observed people loving God and loving others-which is everything the Law is about. They were not in favor of Jesus and wanted so badly to catch Him doing something opposed to the Law. Jesus went into their synagogue and there was a man with a shriveled hand, but it was the Sabbath. There was to be no work on the sabbath-and healing was considered work to the Pharisees. They ask Jesus knowing He saw the man and his hand. “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 

What a question right? My goodness. Why wouldn’t help someone when we have an opportunity to do so? Jesus answers and says,

Mark 12: 11-13  11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

Jesus was moved by compassion. The Pharisees were moved by self-righteousness. 

In another instance when Jesus was preaching around Galilee He encountered a desperate man. Again, someone who had been an outcast from society, cut off from any interactions and meaningful relationships, cut off from being with his family, from being able to work because he was unclean.  He humbly came before Jesus, desperate that He might be willing to help him when no one else would.              

Mark 1: 40-41 40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41 Moved with compassionJesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 

How important is our willingness in these times right now? Suffering has only increased in this pandemic and it’s up to us, the Body of Christ, to reach out our hand and say, “I am willing.” “I’m right here for you and with you.”

  1. Meet the Need (v. 37)  

Jesus met the emotional, spiritual and physical needs that day when He miraculously fed the 5000+ people. He invited the disciples to be part of meeting the physical need for this was something they could assist with. They didn’t make the miracle happen, Jesus did. But they were willing servants as He called on them to gather what was there and then disperse what He provided.

We are only asked to give from what God has provided to us. The disciples didn’t multiply the fish. Jesus did. They handed out what Jesus blessed and provided. 

 

Mark 6: 41-42 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied,   

 

We’re not asked to make the miracle happen for other people. We’re called to look for what is already there to work with and bring forth the bread and the fish as meager as it may seem to Jesus,  inviting Him into the situation and let Him do what only He can do. Then we wait and listen for how He calls us to help meet that need. When we have a willing attitude and we invite God to show us His purposes in a situation, He will surely provide the means so we can meet the need as God purposes for us. 

     

Let us not ever forget the greatest need we all have that Jesus willingly met by giving His own life. We were filled with sin, separated from God for He is holy and righteous. Jesus willingly took our place on the cross-for all sinful people, He died and took the penalty of death for sin with Him for all who believe in Him by nailing our sin to the cross.  His blood poured out as an atonement for our sins and washed away all guilt and condemnation. He was willing.                   

 

Isaiah 53:5. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

Since God willingly sent His Son and Jesus willingly took our rightful punishment for sin and we have been redeemed and restored in our relationship with God through Christ, our appropriate response is to follow their lead and emulate their nature in our lives. 

Colossians 3:12 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

 

If we are willing, we can do so many things big and small to make a difference in others’ lives and for the Kingdom of God. We may not always see the full impact or it may not seem like things are changing but we can trust and know we are making an eternal impact when we are filled with compassion and act under the leading the Holy Spirit. It is all for God’s glory and His purposes, not ours. Let us welcome the interruptions when we know God is leading us and let us jump in to do what He asks of us to love one another. 

 

ConclusionMay we have eyes to see the needs around us, may compassion move us and the Spirit guide us in how to best serve to the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.  May we like Jesus, be willing. 

Let’s Pray. Gracious Father we thank You for Your compassionate love shown to each of us. Thank You for seeing our needs and our pain and being an ever present help in times of trouble. Thank You for Your Word to encourage and strengthen us. Thank You for Your patience with us as we learn to follow and trust You. Thank You for lifting us out of the pit of despair and setting us on the solid rock of Jesus Christ as our firm foundation. Father we thank You and are humbled that You would choose to invite us into the work You are doing to bring forth Your kingdom. You don’t have to and You certainly don’t need us, but You delight in letting Your power and love flow through us. Let us like Jesus, be willing to serve as You call us. Let us find joy knowing we are making an eternal impact as we let Your Spirit flow freely through us and touch others. In Jesus’ name we pray and hope. Amen.

 

Final Blessing: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:5–6

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