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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Compassionate Jesus

We all experiencing times when things going on in our lives cause great sadness, grief, and despair. It could be the loss of a loved one, a child who is choosing a wrong path, or a serious illness affecting us or someone close to us. It's at these times that we need to turn to the one person who not only knows exactly how we are feeling, but also cares more than anyone else possibly could. We need to turn to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 34:18 tells us that the Lord is near to those who are brokenhearted. The Lord knows that it is at these times in life we need Him most. And it is at these times that He is telling us that He is near. He is right there, just waiting for us to turn to Him, to reach out for His help, for His comfort, and for His tender love and mercy. He is waiting to heal our broken hearts and bind our wounds (Psalm 147:3).

Jesus has compassion for those who need Him most and for those who cry out to Him for help. This compassion is shown time and time again in the gospels. As He walked on this earth, teaching and proclaiming the gospel, healing diseases and afflictions, Jesus saw that the people were like sheep without a shepherd, and he had compassion for them (Matthew 9:36). The Greek word for "compassion" here is splanchnizomai, which means being "moved with compassion." It signifies being moved in the inner parts of the body, a deep emotion.

Jesus was moved to compassion for those He encountered who were sick, afflicted, or in need (Mark 8:2; Matthew 20:34). He was also filled with compassion for the grieving, those who mourned (Luke 7:13). In John 11:33, when Jesus arrived at the home of Mary and Martha following the death of their brother, Lazarus, the grief of this family and those who mourned with them filled Jesus with such compassion that He "groaned in the spirit." The Greek word for "groaned" is embrimaonai, which depicts deep emotion involving anger. Jesus was both grieved and angered over the misery that His people suffered from due to sin, Satan, and death.

The verse that may best reveal the deep compassion that Jesus has for His people is also the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, "Jesus wept." The Greek word for "wept" is dakruĊ. This verb indicates that Jesus first burst into tears, then wept silently. How comforting and reassuring it is to know that we serve a God whose compassion and love for us is so strong that it caused Him to weep. When you are experiencing a time of great sorrow, grief, or pain, turn to the One who not only understands how you feel, but is moved to compassion for you.

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