Compassion of Christ… Seeing People Through the Eyes of Christ (Matthew 9:36)
Matthew 9:36, But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Before Jesus saw the needs of people about Him, He first went. That principle remains true to this day. We rarely will become burdened for people and their spiritual needs until we go to them. In so doing, He saw their true spiritual condition. The troubles were threefold.
1. They lacked strength. "Fainted." The people would faint when temptation and trials came upon them.
2. They lacked sanctity. "Scattered." This word speaks of sheep going astray (Isaiah 53:6), of leaving the right path and going on evil paths, and it also speaks of the harm that comes from straying. Unholy conduct hurts the sinner.
3. They lacked shepherds. "As sheep having no shepherd." This was a severe indictment upon the religious leaders of the day. These leaders prided themselves as the spiritual guides and shepherds of the people. But Christ said they were not shepherds at all. They, in fact, were leading the people astray. They were weary and dying spiritually. Jesus saw the multitudes about Him as a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Jesus no doubt was quite aware of the sinfulness and hardness of those about him, yet He focused on the fact that they were as sheep without a shepherd.
The compassion and kindness of Christ was always evident in His ministry. It flowed from the center of Hs heart and manifested in His teachings. It was evident in both His words and deeds. The love and mercy and grace of God were personified in Him. People enjoyed listening to Him teach and would walk miles to hear Him. The brief record, three years of His teachings reveals a depth of His wisdom.
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He faced fatigue from long days in ministry, criticism for well-doing, temptation while physically exhausted, sorrow after the death of a friend, and betrayal by a man who spent three years as His disciple. He knew every kind of tragedy and pain we would endure, and He had the compassion to bear our penalty for sin.
When we see a lost world around us, our hearts should not be indifferent to their fate. May we never be content to go to Heaven alone. May we never get to the point of viewing the lost as a frustration, but rather as people in need of the Good News. This is why we need God’s heart. We need the Holy Spirit to work in us so that when we see the multitudes, we will be moved. How can we gain a Christ-like compassion? Let’s take a walk in someone else’s shoes. If life has disappointed you, or if you have failed and are filled with despair, with no idea where to turn for inspiration and strength, remember the compassion of Jesus. In the power of His love He encourages you to persevere and to rebuild your life.
PRAYER: LORD, I desire so much to be compassionate. Use me as a vessel of compassion for a world in need. I want to be aware of those in need. Please let me see those around me that are in need of hope. Compel me to listen to them, to hear their needs. Let me be what others need, Lord. In Jesus name Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.