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A Compassionate Heart!

(33)

Sermon shared by George Dillahunty

March 2007
Summary: We are called to be compassionate people - to be aware of distressing circumstances that affect others and desire to alleviate their distress. Jesus, the Christ, was the epitome of compassion and any follower of Him will have a compassionate heart!
Denomination: Church of God
Audience: General adults
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you donít give that person any food or clothing - what good does that do?" The answer, of course, is that it doesnít do any good at all!

Finally, in the case of the "Good Samaritan," I doubt that anyone listening to Jesus, the Christ, expected Him to bring a Samaritan into the story - much less make him the hero of the hour! Here, we find Jesus, the Christ, dealing with the "race card" at the same time as compassion. Up until this point, Jesus, the Christ, had mentioned a priest and a Levite, who didnít even stop to help the injured individual. More than likely, everyone expected Him to mention a Jewish lay person - you know, to give the story a kind of "anti-clergy" twist. Instead, Jesus, the Christ, introduces a Samaritan into the equation - an individual who is despised by the Jewish people with a fervor that is hard for many to imagine - but, not too hard, for people of color to imagine. Likewise, the Samaritans hated the Jewish people with an equal level of contempt!"

So, here we have Jesus, the Christ, saying that we have a Jewish individual that is robbed and beaten lying on the side of the road hurting - The Jewish priest passes by - the Jewish Levite looks and passes by; but, this Samaritan man who is an enemy of the man lying on the side of the road, turns out to be the only one with enough compassion to help this man in need. Sadly, that seems to be the situation with the Christian community today - the sinner is more likely to assist someone in need than the Christian "true believer." There is a lot of irony here; however, the point that is made is this: the person that we would least expect to show compassion is the very one who does - in other words, compassion is shown not because we are the most religious; nor is it shown because the person in need is just like us; but, it is shown because we have a heart like the heart of Jesus, the Christ! We have a "Mary heart in a Martha world!"

In Matthew 14:14 (NLT), the Disciple/Apostle Matthew, tells us: "A vast crowd was there as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick." Jesus, the Christ, had just been informed of the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist, and had gone off by Himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. However, the crowds learned of his destination and they followed him on land and met him when his boat reached the shore.

The Apostle Paul, in addressing the church at Philippi, in Philippians 1:8 (NLT), tells them and us: "God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus." So, tell me, preacher, "What will it take for us to have hearts of compassion like Christ and the Samaritan?"

Well, first of all, we need a heartfelt expression of sympathy! In verse 33, of our Holy Scripture text, for today, reading from the New Living Translation (NLT), we find these words: "...and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity." There wasnít any hesitation on the part of the Samaritan -
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