As followers of Jesus, we are called to compassion (see 1 Corinthians 12:25-26). If we really desire to be clear reflections of Jesus Christ in our broken world, we will live with mercy and compassion in our hearts, words, and actions.
During the final days of Jesus’ life, we see increasing evidence of His compassion for those He came to save.
First, we see tender compassion. When Jesus’ good friend Lazarus died, He visited Mary and Martha and Lazarus’ friends. The Scriptures record that the sisters and friends were moved to tears:
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36).
Jesus felt compassion for those he loved.
Second, we see evangelistic compassion. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem for what would be the last time, He paused on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city, and was caught up with emotion. He considered the many people who would not recognize His coming and the salvation and freedom He was bringing! Jesus said:
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42).
Jesus’ heart broke for those who were far from him.
Finally, we see sacrificial compassion. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus cries out to God asking to be released from his assigned task, but submits to the will of his Father, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:42). His compassion was more than just empathy. The writer of Hebrews gives this added insight,
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (Hebrews 5:7).
Jesus’ compassion was lived out sacrificially at a dear price.
Do you ever wonder what the world’s impression of Jesus and His followers would be if His people wholeheartedly lived out a compassionate love for one another and for those far from God, even at cost to our own lives? Let’s consider the heart of Jesus and do likewise!