The most compassionate man to walk on the face of the earth was Jesus Christ. I have the perfect example yet still fall woefully short. I can be indifferent about many things and people in this life. We can be so consumed with ourselves that we miss those who are hurting all around us. Jesus did not have an apathetic bone in His body. Matthew 9:36 says, “He was moved with compassion on them.” Christ understands our suffering and he cares about our afflictions. He did not hide his human emotions at this point. Instead, Jesus showed great passion for the struggle of sinners.
We see countless instances in scripture where Jesus shows his colossal compassion. He had compassion on the sick (Matt. 14:14), He had compassion on the hungry (Matt. 15:32), He had compassion on those who were lost (Mark 6:34), He had compassion on those who were tempted (Heb. 4:15), and on and on we could go. As believers, we understand that God is not prone to mood swings. He is immutable or unchanging. Yet Christ, in His humanity, was moved sometimes to tears (Luke 19:41).
This is a picture of how concerned we should be with those around us who are helpless and harassed in our lives. What is your level of compassion on those we may deem wicked in our neighborhoods? Pastor R.T. Stringer once said, “The compassion we have (or don’t have) toward wicked people is an indication of what we truly believe about the Gospel.” You and I were once sheep without a shepherd. We were the wicked until Christ came to show unending compassion on us.
So now what shall we do? Do we see a harvest around us? In verse 37, Christ says, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.” We should be planning for the harvest. As Jesus walked amid the crowded towns and villages of Galilee, His shepherd nature kicked in. Christ was willing to give it His all for the flock.
First of all, let us be moved by the needs of those around us like Jesus was. Stand up and stand out for the hurting and forgotten. God has sovereignly placed you in the midst of the weary and scattered for a reason. He has given you gifts to fulfill your role in the body of Christ. Don’t look away from them, move toward the desperate and downtrodden. Furthermore, pray for others to be moved with compassion. This is one way we can participate in the fulfillment of God’s strategy. Finally, wonder at God’s great compassion He had on you and me. Don’t ever let that truth diminish in your mind. We are truly a blessed people: we love and serve an amazingly compassionate God!