Summary: We are called to walk in the steps of Jesus. Sometimes those steps are not easy, but we know that with each step Jesus is by our side and at times reaches down lifts us up and carries us.
“Pursue A Heart of Compassion and Love”
The call of Jesus to follow Him is not a call to follow him without challenge and adventure. Jesus did not say, “Follow me and I will give you a pain free life.”
We are called to walk in the steps of Jesus. Sometimes those steps are not easy, but we know that with each step Jesus is by our side and at times reaches down lifts us up and carries us.
As a Christ follower we are called to live as Jesus lived. Jesus had a heart of compassion and love. Are we pursing a heart of compassion and love? How do we measure up to the compassion and love of Jesus?
Paul gives us this challenge: “Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ…” Ephesians 5:1-2
This morning I want to look at two examples of how Jesus expressed compassion and love.
I. Jesus Had Compassion and Love for Spiritually Lost People.
Matthew 9:9-13 NLT
Jesus and His followers are walking into the town of Capernaum. Jesus sees Matthew sitting in the tax booth collecting taxes. Tax collectors were looked upon as the scum of the earth. They worked for the Roman government and were looked upon as traitors by other Jews. They made their living by overcharging and cheating the very people they collected taxes from.
Matthew was despised by the Romans because he was a Jew, and despised by fellow Jews because he was working for their enemy.
When Matthew went to work that day he was probably searching for a friend. He was looking for acceptance and love.
When Jesus saw Matthew he saw a man with a lonely heart. Jesus saw his pain, his loneliness and his lack of purpose in life. Jesus saw a man who needed a Savior.
Jesus had compassion and love toward Matthew the tax collector and called out to him, “Matthew, come be my disciple.” Matthew got up and followed him.
To follow Jesus meant for Matthew to give up a lucrative business and an income that provided for a comfortable life. Matthew made a radical decision that forever changed his life. He became a follower of Jesus. He didn’t care what the Romans might say or what his fellow Jews might do. He left his way of life and followed Jesus.
Do you make excuses for not following Jesus? Do you say or think like some of the following comments?
“Use me, oh Lord! Use me, oh Lord! But not just now....As soon as I’m out of college And pay all the debts I’ve carried, As soon as I’ve done my army stint, As soon as I’ve gotten married. I want you to use me, oh Lord, Use me, oh Lord, but not just now....As soon as I get my first real job, As soon as the house is built, As soon as my psychiatrist says that I am free of guilt. I want you to use me, oh Lord! Use me, oh Lord! But not just now...
“As soon as I’ve paid the mortgage, As soon as the kids are grown, As soon as they have finished college, As soon as they are on their own. I want you to use me, oh Lord! Use me, oh Lord! But not just now...
“As soon as I’ve reached retirement, As soon as I draw my pension, Just as soon as I am dead! I want you to use me, oh Lord! Use me, oh Lord! But not just now...”
There may be some who say, “I don’t have any talents to use for the Lord. I have nothing to offer. When spiritual gifts were given out I was at the end of the line.”
# If there was ever a person who could have offered Jesus an excuse, Robert Reed would be that person. His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He can’t bathe himself. He can’t feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. His shirts are held together by strips of Velcro. His speech drags like a worn-out audiocassette. Robert has cerebral palsy.
The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, from which he graduated with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at a St. Louis Junior College or from venturing overseas on five missions trips.
And Robert’s disease didn’t keep him from becoming a missionary to Portugal. He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.