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Enjoying God Blog


There are so many fascinating, intriguing, and appealing things about Jesus that one hardly knows where to begin. But let me try.

When I peruse the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, several things virtually leap off the page. For example, I try to envision what it would have been like to sit under the teaching of Jesus. How would I have responded? My sincere hope is that I would have responded the way the multitude did after Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Mount: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29).

Not long after they marveled at his authority as a teacher, the disciples found themselves on the Sea of Galilee, in the midst of a raging storm. Jesus powerfully rebukes the wind and the waves and reduces the sea to a placid and peaceful calm. Perhaps, then, it is this display of power that impresses you most. Those in the boat with him certainly took notice: “And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?’” (Matt. 8:27).

If the Pharisees were stunned by anything in the ministry of Jesus it was his knowledge, his insight into their hearts and motivation. You may remember the incident where Jesus healed the paralytic and forgave him his sins. The religious leaders were wondering quietly, in their hearts, how he could do this since only God can forgive sins. “And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk?’” (Mark 2:8-9).

We could go on seemingly forever highlighting the unique characteristics of our Savior: his patience with his followers, in spite of their ignorance and some of the incredibly dumb things they (Peter!) said; his perseverance or endurance when opposed; his overflowing joy, etc.

But there is one thing that has always stood out to me about Jesus: his compassion. And when I take note of the numerous times his compassion is mentioned, it almost always occurs in the context of his healing the people or ministering to their needs. Time and time again, we read something like: “And moved by compassion” . . . Jesus healed their sick or touched a leper or responded in some manner so desperately needed by those who were with him.

When a man virtually eaten up with leprosy approached him, and said: “If you will, you can make me clean,” Jesus, “moved with pity [or compassion], stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:40-42).

According to Mark 9:22, it was to Christ’s compassion that the father of a demonized boy appealed, hoping that he might be delivered. And it was because of his deep and unfathomable compassion that Jesus proceeded to set free that little boy.

Luke 7 records for us yet another instance. Jesus approached the city of Nain and came across a funeral procession. The only son of a widow had died and was about to be buried. “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep’” (Luke 7:13). Jesus then addressed himself to the dead boy: “Young man, I say to you, arise” (Luke 7:14). And he sat up and began to speak, all because of the compassion of our Lord.

When Jesus set his eyes on the 4,000 who had nothing to eat, Matthew tells us that “Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way’” (Matt. 15:32). We all know what happened next. He multiplied seven loaves of bread and a few fish into enough food to satisfy them all.

In the incident where Jesus encountered the crowd of 5,000, once again “he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).

Two blind men were sitting beside the road when they heard that Jesus was passing by. They cried out for mercy, and mercy they received. But why? “And Jesus in pity [compassion] touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him” (Matt. 20:29-34).

Again and again, we read that “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them” and fed them and healed them and set them free from demonic oppression (Matt. 9:35-38).

Yes, Jesus performed healing miracles and multiplied food for the crowd in order to glorify God and to confirm his messianic identity and to make clear that the kingdom of God was now present. But above all else, the singular motivation in his heart that prompted him to heal the sick and to minister to their needs was his compassion.

Simply put, he healed people because he loved them. He cared deeply for them. When they hurt, he hurt. When they grieved, his heart was moved with pity and concern. It simply wasn’t in the character of Christ to remain indifferent in the presence of human suffering.

Is Jesus less compassionate or less loving today than he was in the first century? Surely not. So, if you are hurting or in need of healing or lack guidance and are tormented by the enemy, come to Christ! Come to the one in whom heartfelt compassion finds its consummate expression.

“O Savior, we are blind and dumb,
To thee for sight and speech we come;
Touch thou our eyes with truth’s bright rays,
Teach thou our lips to sing thy praise.
Help us to feel our mournful night,
And seek, through all things, for thy light,
Till the glad sentence we receive,
‘Be it to you as you believe.’
Then swift the dumb to thee we’ll bring,
Till all thy grace shall see, and sing.”

George Lansing Taylor


Thanks Sam
I'm getting to this rather late but Edgar brings up a fair point. As someone whose family was called to endure a lengthy terminal (and eventually fatal) condition in one of our kids (from a near drowning that occurred under my watch) I've given the issue of healing a lot of thought.

It is important to note that Sam did not say, or suggest, that Christ's compassion was the *only* reason for His many healings. One other very important reason that Jesus performed all those miracles was to validate His extraordinary claims.

John tells us that the miracles were recorded so that we might believe He is the Son of God and that believing we might have *everlasting* life through His name. J 20:30-31

If someone came around claiming to be the Eternal Word of God, incarnate, we would expect him to demonstrate divine power over sickness and death; or we should dismiss his claims as phony baloney.

Let's also remember that healings do still occur but they NEVER occur on demand. God is under no moral obligation to treat us all the same unless He has made a universal promise to do so in a given context. He has made no such promise of physical healing to everyone at all times. He is the Potter, and as such, He can use our individual lives as He sees fit. (Just ask Esau, who was passed over for patriarchal blessings in the covenant with Abraham. His sneaky brother got the gold mine and he got the shaft, in terms of this earthly life.)

Let's not miss the main point of Sam's article: Jesus is compassionate. And He has universally promised forgiveness to the humble! His miracles vindicate the veracity of that promise.
Where’s your compassion? What are you doing
about their needs? What’s your deal?
What a wonderful word...compassion.
What a wonderful attribute for one in power to embody.
What a wonderful Savior.
What a wonderful Savior who embodies that wonderful word.
Thank you for your encouraging reflections Pastor Sam.
Hi Edgar,

I just wanted to comment that the compassion was and is the heart of Jesus. It why he has made a way for us sinners at all. He has compassion on us all in our suffering and in our being lost when we are far from Him and do not know Him. Jesus did not heal every single person who was sick around Him. If that was His main goal while he was walking on earth then I suppose he would have spent all of his time doing just that. He has purpose behind His miracles and because He loves us, His compassion was certainly a part of the healings. He did not just do it with an indifferent heart toward the suffering. And still today, God does heal some. But not all. What we have to realize is that the greatest thing God offers is peace through reconciliation to Him when we place out faith in Him. When we believe in Jesus and commit to truly following Him, he offers peace and joy that transcends the circumstances of our lives. This is His promise, although He does still heal some today. And we thank Him and praise Him when he does. And when He doesn't, He is still all good and has perfect purpose for still allowing a suffering to remain. And so we thank Him for His perfect plan, which is for the believers ultimate good. God does indeed want us all to be relieved in time and He promises that after this life, when we are with Him, there will be no more tears or pain. True faith remains in God even in the midst of suffering because we remember that He promises that He is with us and so we do not curse Him when He chooses not to heal. It's part of how he makes us more like Jesus which is a truly beautiful thing. God ways are not our ways. And thank God they are not. We must trust His ways. That's faith.
But now we see thousands of children with
terminal illnesses in hospitals. Although
He surely knows each one (and we remind in prayer).
What's the deal? Where's the compassion?

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