I am reading through the entire Bible this year and right now I’m in the book of Matthew. A few days ago, I had to pause in the middle of Matthew 14. Here in this chapter, we learn that Jesus finds out about the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist:
As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13, 14 NLT)
Jesus had literally just found out that He had lost not only a family member, but a powerful prophet whose destiny was linked to His own. Jesus had lost a comrade in evangelizing the lost people of His day. The man who had baptized Him had been killed because of the king’s foolish vow (Matthew 14:6-11). Going away to be alone, He stepped off the boat only to be confronted by crowds of people.
Here’s what made me pause: Jesus didn’t get upset with being interrupted. He didn’t urge the people to leave Him alone. Despite having valid reasons to go off on His original plans, Jesus didn’t ask the crowds to give Him space. No, Jesus had compassion on them.
Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering (Dictionary.com)
When Jesus saw the crowds, He poured out the very thing that He Himself had need of at the time. He knew that taking that time to minister to the crowd was much more important than His own wants at the time. And, when He finished ministering to them, Jesus was still able to get time alone to Himself (Matthew 14:23).
Reading this, I was convicted. I knew that my response would have been much different. I would have shooed the crowds away, so I could be alone. I would have given my (valid) excuses. I may have just gotten back on the boat and drifted away.
I got to thinking about how often I showed compassion to others. Outside of my normal routines of giving and charity work, when did I honestly look on others with compassion? How often did I look past my own selfish needs, plans, issues, and desires to really see the people around me? Was it a part of my normal routine? Was I really living a life of Christian love?
I had to take a moment to say a prayer, asking for God’s forgiveness and His help to change for the better. I asked Him to help me see past my own needs and recognize the needs of those around me.
Are you showing compassion to those around you? Or, are you like me, walking around with blinders on, only noticing the things that affect your own life? Take some time to do a heart check. See if you need an infilling of compassion.
Help me to walk in the same compassionate love that Jesus did. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. Show me how to pour out love no matter what situation I find myself in. Let Your love always be present in my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to live your lives with compassion! When people come across your path, they will find the compassionate love of Jesus Christ. Be it in word or action, you can show Jesus’ compassionate love to everyone you meet.
What ways can you demonstrate God’s compassion today?
Tiara Wilkinson serves as the Youth Leader and on the Pastoral Care Team at Christ Worship Center in Riverdale, Illinois. She recently obtained her Masters in Christian Leadership at Liberty University. Tiara will be publishing her first book “Days of Destiny and Purpose” in the spring of 2014. Her favorite passage of the Bible is Psalm 27 which reminds us that the Lord is our strength, so we have no reason to fear anything.