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“And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34, KJV
In different situations the Bible says Jesus was “moved with compassion.” Other versions sometimes translate this as “take pity”, “Indignant”, and “heart went out to….” These are all good, but they fall short of the Greek meaning. “Moved with compassion” is more than feeling pity or sympathy for someone[s]. This word is a word that means feeling that comes out of the innermost being. It is the gut-wrenching, pit-of-the-stomach feeling you get when something really bad happens or you believe that it is going to happen. But it is not a feeling powerlessness.
When you read in Scripture that Jesus was moved with compassion it was a deeply heart-felt emotion that led to action. It was a horror that satan had deceived people, or kept them in sickness or possessed them. It was a horror that reacted to help, to undo the wrong, to set people free.
Some people have an image of a distant God who doesn’t really care. Or they see Jesus as a one-dimensional stick figure moving automatically through the gospels just doing what He was told. While it is certainly true that Jesus always obeyed the Father, it was not an emotionless routine action. Jesus deeply cared for the people and situations around Him.
In our own lives, we can think that Jesus does not know or does not care what happens to us. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. When something hurts you, Jesus is moved with compassion. Although it is hard for us to imagine as we are reeling in pain and confusion, Jesus feels our pain deeper than we do. That does not mean that He is going to rush in and put a Band-Aid on it. Like going to the cross, sometimes painful things are necessary. There can be no victory without a battle and the greater the battle the greater the victory. What it does mean is that Jesus is right there with us through it all - not as a callus observer or even as an encouraging coach. No, He is experiencing it to the full with us and giving us the strength to carry on. Like a parent weeping because his child has to undergo painful operations to recover from cancer or burns, Jesus feels our distress.
While we can picture that about Jesus [sometimes], we can think that God the Father is the distant callus One. Again nothing could be farther from the Truth. That idea is a lie from satan to keep us separated from the Father. Jesus did only those things which He saw His Father do. In other words, Jesus being moved with compassion was an expression of the Father’s being moved with compassion. The Father feels things as deeply as does Jesus. Sin, sorrow, and sickness rip at the Father’s heart. Becoming involved with His creation was no idle experiment. It was a total commitment. Since the Father [and the Son and the Holy Spirit] is a perfect Being, His capacity to feel pain is also perfect - far greater than anything we can and do experience.
Let us reject every lie that satan sends to us that God doesn’t care or understand. That is nonsense. Our emotions may say that, but emotions are fickle and not trustworthy. We stand on the Word of God and we KNOW Jesus loves us, is moved with compassion at our suffering and so are the Father and the Holy Spirit. We stand in the face of satan’s lies and declare the Truth!
When Jesus was moved with compassion, He did something whether it was casting out demons, rising the dead, healing the sick or [as above] teaching to bring people out of ignorance about the True God and His ways. True compassion involves anger at the wrong [hence some translations as “indignant”] and action to correct it or, at least, comfort through it.
As we move passed [or even in], our own pain we need to look on others and be moved with compassion - not merely pity or sympathy - for what they are going through. We need to become the hand of Jesus in ministering to them. They need to look into our eyes and see the love and compassion of the infinitely caring God looking back at them. We all do this imperfectly…but let us be found doing it!
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