Summary: Jesus compassion and love is for all who will accept.
Text: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them....” (Matthew 9:36).
According to The American Heritage Dictionary the word “compassion” is defined as “The deep feeling of sharing the suffering of another, together with the inclination to give aid or support or to show mercy”.
Is compassion relevant today? Are Christians compassionate toward one another? Are people in general compassionate toward each other regardless of their faith or lack of faith? Do you and I show compassion in our daily walk?
I want to share with you a story that demonstrates a lack of compassion. This story was written by Charles Swindoll and appeared in the Dallas Seminary Daily Devotional, September 12, 2003. Listen very carefully.
“Who really cared? His was a routine admission to busy Bellevue Hospital. A charity case, one among hundreds. A drunken bum from the Bowery with a slashed throat. The Bowery… last stop before the morgue.
“The derelict’s name was misspelled on the hospital form, but then what good is a name when the guy’s a bum? The age was also incorrect. He was thirty-eight, not thirty-nine, and looked twice that. Somebody might have remarked, “What a shame for one so young,” but no one did. Because no one cared.
“His health was gone and he was starving. He had been found lying in a heap, bleeding from a deep gash in his throat. A doctor used black sewing thread to suture the wound. Then the man was dumped in a paddy wagon and dropped off at Bellevue Hospital, where he languished and died. But nobody really cared.
“A friend seeking him was directed to the local morgue. There, among dozens of other nameless corpses, he was identified. When they scraped together his belongings, they found a ragged, dirty coat with thirty-eight cents in one pocket and a scrap of paper in the other. All his earthly goods. Enough for another night in the Bowery and five words, “Dear friends and gentle hearts.” Almost like the words of a song, someone may have thought.
“Which would have been correct, for once upon a time that man had written the songs that literally made the whole world sing. Songs like “Camptown Races,” “Oh! Susanna,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” “Old Folks at Home,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and two hundred more that have become deeply rooted in our rich American heritage. Thanks to Stephen Collins Foster.
“Today, some of these forgotten souls are in prison. Some in hospitals. Some in nursing homes. And some silently slip into church on Sunday morning, confused and afraid. Do you care enough “to show hospitality to strangers,” as Hebrews 13:2 puts it? It also says that in doing so, we occasionally “entertain angels without knowing it.”
“Angels who don’t look anything like angels. Some might even look like bums from the bowery, but they may have a song dying in their hearts because nobody knows and nobody cares. Deep within many a forgotten life is a scrap of hope, a lonely melody trying hard to return.”
-------------Dr. Charles Swindoll
Where was the compassion for Stephen Foster? Where is the compassion for our loved ones? Are you and I willing to reach out and lend a helping hand to the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the lonely, the incarcerated, or the lost? Are we willing to share in the suffering of these children of God? Are we ready and willing to extend Jesus’ love to those who are wandering around like lost sheep?
Jesus said, “I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35).
Jesus is telling us that whenever we show compassion to others, we are serving Him. Whenever we are empathetic toward those who are in need or those who are hurting, we are serving Him. Whenever our sympathy moves into action mode, we are serving Him. Whenever His love flows out from us to those who are lonely, lost, or believe they are friendless, we are serving Him.
“Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught” (Mark 6:30).
The disciples had been out preaching the message of repentance. They were anointing many with oil, casting out demons, and bringing healing to those in need. Jesus had sent them out in pairs and “gave them power over unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7).
These disciples had been on the road. They were doing the work the Master gave them to do. They traveled from town to town and now Jesus called them back and gathered them together so they could give Him a report of what they had accomplished. The disciples needed some time to regroup. They needed some rest and relaxation.