Summary: We should be driven by compassion because Jesus was driven by it.
True Values: Compassion
Text: Matt. 9:35-38
1. Illustration: In the summer of 1982, I spent the summer in Europe working with a group called Youth With a Mission. Most of my time was spent in Amsterdam, Holland. Now, Amsterdam is notorious for being the drug dealing capital of the world, as well as a hotbed for sex trade (prostitutes, sex shops ect.). When I first got there it drove me insane. It was nasty, dirty and sinful. After a day or so in the city, we went to a farm that was several hours away from Amsterdam for training, and I told the Lord, "don’t ever send me back there!" At the end of the training period, we were split up into three teams; one went to France, one went to Germany, and one went back to Amsterdam. Guess which one I was on? That’s right, I was back in Amsterdam, but this time it was different. God had changed my heart towards the people of Amsterdam. This transformation took place after I saw a poster that contained Matthew 9:36 (NLT) "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." The Lord had allowed me to see these people through his eyes.
2. Jesus displayed compassion more than anyone that has ever lived, and as His people, we should display His compassion for lost and hurting people.
3. The word that is translated compassion refers to "the emotion roused by contact with an affliction which comes undeservedly on someone else" (R. Bultmann, TDNT II 477).
a. Outside of a few references in Jesus parables, anytime that compassion is mentioned in the Gospels it is associated with Jesus.
b. Aside from love, compassion is Jesus most defining characteristic.
4. For us to pursue the compassion of Jesus in our lives involves:
c. Willingness to Help
5. Read Matt. 9:35-38
Proposition: We should be driven by compassion because Jesus was driven by it.
Transition: From Jesus life we see...
I. Compassion Involves Outreach (35)
A. Jesus Traveled
1. The motivation for Jesus ministry on earth was His compassion for hurting people.
a. His compassion for hurting people caused Him to act to relieve their suffering.
b. Matthew 14:14 (NLT)
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
c. Not only did He have compassion on those who came to Him, but he also went looking for those who needed Him.
2. One of the most striking things about v. 35 is "Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area..."
a. He didn’t merely sit around and wait for people to come to Him, but He went looking for people that needed Him.
b. He knew that there would be people that for one reason or another could not or would not come to Him, so He sought after them.
c. He traveled to the towns and villages, mostly on foot, because His compassion drove Him to do so.
d. Too many in the church today have a "Field of Dreams" mentality to ministry: "if you build it, they will come."
e. We cannot not always wait for people to come to us, but we have to be willing to take the message of Jesus’ love to them.
f. Notice also that Jesus didn’t just go to the big cities, but to the towns and villages; anywhere there were those who needed Him.
3. Furthermore, He went where they were, "teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom."
a. Jesus taught, as did Paul, in the synagogues because they were the educational and community centers of the day (Keener, IVP NT Commentary: Matthew, 100).
b. They didn’t have internet, cable, or DVDs. Their source of information, and community involvement came from the synagogue.
c. Jesus went their to teach because He knew that is where the people would be.
d. Again, it’s not about people coming to us; we have to be willing to go to them.
e. Acts 10:38 (NLT)
And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
4. Another thing that we should pay attention to in this verse is "he healed every kind of disease and illness."
a. He didn’t just preach and teach to them, but He met their needs.
b. It is hard for someone to hear the message of the gospel when their stomach is empty, or they are cold and have no place to live, or they are hurting.
c. Moreover, notice that Jesus healed "every kind of disease and illness."