The Compassion Of Jesus, Our Good Shepherd

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.      Matthew 9:36

Our family lived in a new development along a country road. Woods, fields, and farms lined our road, stretching through the valley. I spent a reasonable amount of time at one of the farms.

This farmer had dairy cows in a field beside his barn while sheep grazed in another field. I’m unsure why he had the sheep because I don’t remember him doing anything with them.

What I do remember is the sheep were very skittish. They only responded to the farmer. If anyone else came near them, they would quickly run away from them.

Love of God
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They didn’t follow any one sheep as their leader. When fear got the best of them, they would just run in total confusion. Some old junk cars and a couple large piles of brush were in their pasture.

If someone spooked the sheep, in their distress, they would take off running. They would trip over obstacles and quickly change their direction after running into one.

Their panic created a scene of confusion in that pasture. Jesus made a similar observation when he saw the crowds. He described them as sheep without a shepherd, confused and helpless.

The scripture says it caused Jesus to have compassion for them. He didn’t just stand off and obverse them from a distance. No. He walked among them, he spoke to them, and touched them.

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. Matthew 9:35

Compassion Exhibited by Jesus

Compassion Exhibited by Jesus

Jesus exhibited compassion beyond belief while He walked on this earth. But it didn’t start there. We also see the Lord’s compassion throughout the pages of the Old Testament.

  • The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 2 Chronicles 36:15
  • Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering. Isaiah 49:13
  • Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:13
  • Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19

Why do you think the Lord healed people wherever He went? You might say because they suffered from sicknesses and diseases. Yes, but Jesus healed them because of His compassion.

One day, the Lord wanted to get away to a remote area and be alone. But that didn’t last long. Before He got off the boat, others arrived before Him, waiting for Him at the shore.

But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14

And in His compassion, after Jesus healed the sick, He spent time teaching them. Then, He miraculously fed the crowd of over 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.

Is the Compassion of Jesus in You?

We have only mentioned a smidgen of the compassion of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. How can we exhibit that same kind of compassion in our lives?

In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul sheds some light on how we can move in that direction. He began by asking a few questions about how we treat one another.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Philippians 2:1

Look at the root words for each question: encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and tenderheartedness. All of these qualities working together reveal the compassion of Jesus in us.

These qualities must be at the center of our lives, especially when we gather together in church. And they must be genuine, sincere, and extended to everyone who walks in.

When a person walks into the Sunday morning service, they must feel safe and loved. The only conviction they experience should come from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Too often, I see people with the attitude of, “I’ll set them straight,” or “Somebody has to tell them.” The compassion of Jesus in our hearts doesn’t work like that. Paul continued by saying.

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Philippians 2:2

Paul wrote in Galatians what the Fruit of the Spirit consists of. Then, immediately following that,  he told us how to deal with someone when they falter.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Galatians 6:1

Compassion of Jesus

The Spirit of Unity

In other words, let the love and compassion of Jesus guide you when dealing with or relating to anyone. In the spirit of unity, Paul had one more thing to say to the Philippians.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:3-5

Lord, help us to extend the same compassion in our lives that Jesus had. May others observe the qualities of encouragement, comfort, fellowship, and tenderheartedness in everything we do.

Check out these related devotions about God’s love.

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