“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”” – Mark 8:2-3 (ESV).
This passage in Mark gives us some interesting points. First, notice that the crowds were so drawn to Jesus that they were willing to spend three days with Him, listening to Him and running out of food in the process They chose Jesus and His teaching in this desolate place over food and the comfort of their own homes. They simply wanted to be with Jesus. Secondly, this passage reveals Jesus’ deep concern and compassion for people.
The word “compassion” means to suffer with. It is to feel the suffering of others which moves you to help relieve the suffering. Compassion is the drive to relieve the hurts of others.
Compassion is the very heart of God. God is compassionate because He is love. It is His character to love even if love is not returned to Him. He will give us good things because of His goodness. Jesus didn’t just feel compassion. Compassion moved him to action. He healed. He taught. He comforted. So should we.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
How effective are we at showing compassion or mercy to others? If you are like most people you do a pretty good job displaying compassion with relatives and close friends. But what about people that you are not as close with? Spend time with families or single moms to better understand the struggles parents can face. Lead a Bible study of college students, sharing your wisdom, and hearing what it’s like to be a student today. Get involved and make friends with the elderly and the underserved. By getting involved in other’s lives, you’re being intentional like Jesus—not offering compassion from a distance, but moving into others’ lives, developing relationships, and serving them.
Having compassion for others is important. Compassion for others helps create an environment for God to develop a more tender heart in you. This week, think of circumstances that are just right for compassion to develop and to flourish.
- What does compassion mean to you?
- What role can compassion play in our daily walk with God?