“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36).
Examples in the gospels of Jesus’ compassion are notable. When He saw Mary and others weeping for the deceased Lazarus, “He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33) and wept with them (v. 35). The phrase “deeply moved in spirit” connotes physical as well as emotional and spiritual anguish. As He saw Lazarus’s friends and family grieving, He entered into real crying with them.
When arrested in the garden, Christ was more concerned about the disciples than Himself: “If you [soldiers] seek Me, let these go their way” (John 18:8). While on the cross He still had concern for His mother: “He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’” (19:26).
In one of His most poignant expressions of deep compassion for others, Jesus lamented, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37; cf. Luke 19:41–42).
Commenting on two familiar verses about Jesus’ compassion and sympathy (Heb. 4:15; 5:8), Paul Brand said,
A stupefying concept: God’s Son learning through His experiences on earth. Before taking on a body, God had no personal experience of physical pain or of the effect of rubbing against needy persons. But God dwelt among us and touched us, and His time spent here allows Him to more fully identify with our pain.
What does Christ’s compassion inspire in you? How could you be more daring and deliberate about taking His heart with you into your world of need, touching others with the love and mercy of Jesus?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.