Merriam-Webster defines compassion: “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” Compassion is sympathy, empathy, concern, or pity that moves one to action… it’s love in action.
Before He fed five-thousand men and their families, Jesus “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).
When Jesus entered the little village of Nain, he encountered a funeral procession with a
lonely widow leading a “large crowd” of grieving mourners. “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, ‘Don’t weep’ ” (Luke 7:12, 13).
While Jesus was traveling the last leg of his journey to Calvary, He passed through Jericho where He was verbally accosted by Blind Bartimaeus and his buddy. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him” (Matthew 20:34).
Although he was a bit faithless, the father of the epileptic boy cried out to Jesus. “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22).
Jesus used the Parable of the Prodigal to illustrate God’s compassion. When the rebellious son returned home, “his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him… ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast’ ” (Luke 15:20-23).
Jesus used the Parable of the Good Samaritan to teach His disciples to be compassionate. When the Samaritan saw the man, beaten and bruised, laying in the gutter, “he had compassion.” Jesus concluded the parable by saying, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:33, 37). “Be compassionate!”
As we continue “Marching Thru Mark,” we learn about a leper. “He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he told him. ‘Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:39–42).
Doctor Luke added an important medical detail concerning the leper. He had “leprosy all over him” (Luke 5:12). He was consumed by it, covered with open wounds, oozing with infection. He looked like a monster and smelled like death. Leprosy was an ugly disease that ultimately left its victim to suffer and die alone… but Jesus was “moved with compassion!”
Sin leaves us smelling like death… but He “so loved the world” (John 3:16). He had a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” “Moved with compassion” He gave His sinless life on Calvary’s cross. Hallelujah! Thank you, compassionate Lord Jesus!