“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.”
Sometimes I think Christians regard nonbelievers as the enemy. Preachers will rant and rave about certain sins people are committing. But let’s remember something: behind that sin is an empty, searching, lost person whom God loves.
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We are not called to condemn. We are called to appeal to nonbelievers with the message of the gospel. We need compassion. Jesus had it overflowing from His life. He was moved by the needs of others.
When He saw Mary and Martha weeping over the death of their brother, Lazarus, He “groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). That phrase carries the idea of physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish. Jesus is the only one who can accurately say, “I feel your pain.” As He watched Mary and Martha weeping, His heart went out to them. He was in anguish, too. He hurt for them. He hurt with them. And He wept. That’s our Savior.
Jesus knew the same crowds in Jerusalem who cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9) would soon shout, “Crucify Him!”
Yet He felt compassion, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23: 37).
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5). We should seek to imitate the Lord and have compassion.
If we want to be used by God in any capacity, this must be foremost in our minds and hearts—not obligation, not mere duty, not guilt, but a God-given burden for people.