God’s Love is Compassionate
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in the context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” — Matthew 9:35-36
“15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” — Hebrews 4:15-16
“20 So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” — Luke 15:20
Compassion means far more than just feeling sorry for someone. Compassion means to suffer with another person. It means to get down where they are in the midst of their need and to suffer with them in the middle of their pain. It is the father of the prodigal son who felt immense compassion when he saw his son sauntering back home after having squandered his inheritance. It is not just an emotion. It is seeing a problem and being moved by the need. The old man ran to his son, threw his arms around the boy’s dirty body, kissed his filthy face, and called all available helpers to lend a hand.
It is Jesus feeling compassion for the sick and destitute. When Jesus felt compassion for a leper, He “stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’” Though it is lost on a 21st Century audience, the shocker of the story is that Jesus touched a leper. In doing that, He violated all the customs and rules of that day. People were so scared of lepers that they made them live in a colony away from the rest of society so they would not contaminate anyone else. But when Jesus saw the man with leprosy, He was so moved with compassion that He reached out and touched him.
This is the kind of love we receive from God. We serve a Lord that sympathizes with our weaknesses because He was right there in the midst of temptation while on earth. We can then go boldly before the throne of God and receive mercy in our time of need because God understands. He has compassion for His children and actively ministers to the hurting.
Questions for Thought:
- Do you view God as compassionate? What does that practically mean in your daily life?
- How does the compassion of God allow you to go boldly before the throne of God? What is the connection between God’s compassion and our boldness?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
Another example of compassion comes from the Good Samaritan. Jesus said there once was a man on the road from Jerusalem down to Jericho. Thieves attacked him, beat him, stripped and robbed him, and left him for dead. After being ignored by a couple of religious leaders, a Samaritan came by. The Jews hated the Samaritans. But Jesus said this half-breed, hated Samaritan came along and saw that poor Jewish man lying there. When he found out that he was still alive, he treated his wounds. He then picked the man up, put him on his donkey, and took him up to the inn. The Samaritan then paid the proprietor, stayed the night with the man, and the next morning he took money out of his own pocket, gave it to the innkeeper saying, “If there is more, I’ll settle the bill when I come back later.”
This is compassion. It is going above and beyond what would be considered normal human obligations. Compassion really does not calculate the cost. It does what is demanded by the situation. Certainly, Jesus demonstrated the greatest act of compassion by not considering the cost as more than He was willing to give. That is the compassion we receive and the compassion we are called to give in the name of Jesus.