Last Sunday morning we looked at Matthew 9v35-38 and, in particular, noted that when Jesus “saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (v36). Rather than criticise, condemn or display cold indifference to the crowds, Jesus was moved with compassion. Indeed we saw that the Greek word for compassion here literally means a gut reaction. W.E.Vine in his expository dictionary of New Testament words defines it as being “moved as to one’s inwards” and writes that the word “is frequently recorded of Christ towards the multitude and towards individual sufferers”.
It is also significant that our English word compassion is derived from a Latin word meaning to “suffer with”. My own ‘take’ on the word, which perhaps links the Greek and Latin meanings, is that it comprises “co” – together, joint, oneness – and “passion” – intense, deep, fervour.
The amazing truth of Christianity is that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was so moved with compassion, that He left the glory of heaven and came to this earth to suffer and to die in our place. He not just suffered with, but far beyond anything we can imagine as He died on the cross.
His wonderful love and grace surely motivates us to seek to demonstrate Christ-like compassion to others. Undoubtedly our compassion will be so poor in comparison to His, but let us pray that it will be real, passionate and from our hearts as we endeavour to come alongside those in need. Of course, our aim always is to see the Lord’s harvest being gathered in (Matthew 9v37,38). Jesus said that He “came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19v10). That’s true, Christ-like compassion, which I trust will be the foundation of our response to the “Who cares? Hampshire” mission.
Peace and Grace