Do we have a ‘HEART of COMPASSION’ for the LOST?
October 10 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 7-9
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt. 9:35-36)
In the above passage, Matthew summarizes the Galilean ministry of Jesus as an early introduction to the great commission that He gave to His disciples towards the end of His ministry. In this summarization, Matthew highlights both the words and works of Jesus and the continuing plight of the people under the failing leadership of the Jews. The threefold ministry of Jesus in Israel included teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel of God’s kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and diseases.
As Jesus carried out His ministry, He focused on both the villages as well as the cities (urban centers) of Palestine (v. 35; 11:1; Luke 4:43; 13:22), and visited Jerusalem at least three times. This brought Him into contact with a great number and wide variety of the Jewish population including women, soldiers, religious leaders, the rich, merchants, tax collectors, Gentiles, prostitutes, beggars, and the poor. In fact, Jesus attracted large crowds of people through His amazing teaching, preaching and healing miracles as He visited each and every village and city in Palestine.
As Jesus traveled throughout all the cities and villages, He preached the good news of the kingdom of God, namely, that He was the King of Israel, and that if the nation repented and acknowledged Him, He would reign over them. As Christ taught and preached, He healed all kinds of sicknesses as well. However, as He gazed on Israel’s multitudes, harassed and helpless, He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. His great heart of compassion just went out to them!
In fact, when Jesus saw people, He saw their real heart-needs instead of their outward appearance, and met them exactly at the point of their need. Jesus not only noticed the pain and hurt of broken people, but He responded to it by challenging His followers to pray for His heavenly Father to respond to the hurts and the needs of many people all around the world (v. 38). As we follow Christ’s example, a heart of compassion for the lost around us will compel us to make a difference in the lives of people who are in our sphere of influence.
A world in despair with no answers to their hurt and emptiness needs followers of Jesus who care today. In this regard, we should emulate Jesus who was moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes (v. 36). When we look through the eyes of Jesus, we’ll see a needy world of people around us who needs a Savior to save them from their sins and heal them from their diseases. We should then be willing to go any time, any place, any distance for the sake of these people.
As we think about our Lord Jesus, who gave up his glory and eternal abode in heaven to come down to this lowly earth to live and die among us, no distance is too great to go. What God had given us; He wants us to share with others as well. Let us examine ourselves today, and check if we truly have a ‘heart of compassion’ for the lost and the hurting among us!