Summary: Jesus knew how to comfort the hurting because He had compassion for the way people struggled with every problem. The Lord Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every
Quote: Many people are drawn to the love of Jesus by His ministry of consolation more than anything else.
When we are weary, stressed out or hurting, our human tendency is to call on God for help in our time of need.
Illustration: For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Jesus knew how to comfort the hurting because He had compassion for the way people struggled with every problem. The Lord 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. Then He said,
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matt. 9:35-38) Jesus’ compassion led Him to feel the pain of ordinary people. However, the Lord used His compassion to minister to human need while not forgetting His primary mission.
Let us look at several ways that Jesus showed compassion to human needs without neglecting His objectives of winning the lost.
1. Christ’s concern for human need never deterred Him from advancing His spiritual purpose. While Jesus was teaching, a ruler came and knelt before Him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her and she will live."
2. Jesus knew this would be a great opportunity to combine His ministries of physical, emotional and spiritual healing. The Lord went with the ruler to his home along with the disciples. Along the way, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of His cloak. She said to herself, "If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed." Jesus turned and said, "Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you." (Matt. 9:18-22) And the woman was healed at the moment. Often, when we are on our way to accomplish God’s plan, other opportunities will present themselves.
Application: Do not overlook any divine opportunity to minister a spiritual, emotional or physical blessing to anyone.
3. Jesus allowed His ministry of physical healing to advance His greater purpose to bring spiritual healing. One day, people brought a deaf man who could hardly talk to Jesus and begged Him to place His hand on the man. After taking Him aside from the crowd, Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, "Ephphatha!" (Which means ‘Be opened’). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well… He even makes the deaf hear the mute speak." (Mark 7:32-37)
Application: The Lord wants us to use every physical, social, and spiritual power at our disposal to advance His reputation and regenerative blessings.
4. Jesus took advantage of every social event to display compassion for people’s felt, perceived, physical, emotional, cultural, financial, and spiritual needs. When a large crowd gathered around, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance." But the disciples said, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?" The disciples only looked at the problems, not the opportunities. Then, Jesus asked the disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied. He told the crowd to sit down and when He had given thanks, he broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so… The 4,000 people ate and were completely satisfied. (Mark 8:1-10)
Application: Be alert for every opportunity to advance the name, the cause and the priorities of Jesus Christ.
5. Jesus did not allow other people’s immaturity, narrow mindedness, or spiritual problems to keep Him from doing all of the will of God. One day, Jesus found His disciples arguing with the crowd. One man said, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech… I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." Jesus said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
The boy’s father said to Jesus, It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." Jesus said, "If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Jesus said, "I command you, deaf and mute spirit, come out of him and never enter him again." The disciples said, "Why couldn’t we drive it out?" Jesus said, "This kind can come out only by prayer." (Mark 9:16-29)