Jesus had compassion on the weary crowd, a sympathy that moved Him to meet their physical and spiritual needs. He healed them, fed them, and taught them.
Compassion is not silent and still. Compassion is a verb. It is love that serves and shares in order to alleviate the suffering of others. Jesus was compassionate.
In the eighteen chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus used the word “compassion” to describe His Father’s boundless capacity to forgive the rebellion of His beloved creatures. Jesus said, “The Master... had compassion.”
You can read the parable in Matthew 18:21-35. Here’s the short version.
Once there was a king who decided to settle his accounts. One of his servants owed him “ten thousand talents” (Matthew 18:24).
Side note: a talent is a measure of weight equal to about seventy-five pounds. When the word “talent” is used to define monetary value, it probably means seventy-five pounds of gold. An ounce of gold is currently valued at $1,865... thanks Google. So, do the math. That’s twenty-two billion and change! Cha-ching!
Since the man couldn’t pay his crushing debt, the man was tossed into debtor’s prison. Pay up or go to jail!
So, the debtor begged the king for assistance, patience, forgiveness. “The servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan” (Matthew 18:26-27, CSB).
He wrote off twenty-two billion! He forgave the debt. He ripped up the loan documents. One minute the man was in debt up to his eyeballs, and the next minute he was debt-free!
Jesus’ parable teaches us about God’s compassionate heart and His ability to forgive the vilest offender. God knows all about our wretchedness. He knows that we are rebellious, disobedient, stubborn... He knows that we are hopelessly, helplessly sinful. He also knows that we have no resources from which to pay our debt. We are twenty-two billion in debt and our piggy bank is empty.
But God... had compassion! When you read the second half of the parable, you’ll see that Jesus challenged us to be compassionate too.
Thank you, compassionate Lord Jesus, for forgiveness, full and free! Lord, help me to mirror your mercy and grace for the benefit of others.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor