Jesus and compassion!
Scripture reading for January 23rd: Matthew 15:29-39, Psalm 17:8-15, Proverbs 4:10-17
Compassion ministries are making a comeback in many evangelical churches. Many churches are visiting the sick and helpless, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and clothing those who are needy. These ministries have their source in the heart of Jesus Christ, Himself. Jesus was known for His compassion on hurting and hungry people. Compassion might be defined as love in action. We demonstrate true love by acting in faith to meet needs as God directs!
“Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet: and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, and the lame walking and blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15:30-31) Jesus showed compassion and great love by healing all who came to Him. The miracles were drawing crowds of people that all needed the message of repentance! His heart’s desire was to see them made whole so He also preached the good news of the kingdom, calling them to repent. The result was worship of God!
“Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people: they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’ “ (Matthew 15:32) The heart of Jesus is clear here in His words and following actions. He was concerned about their need for food to sustain them on their journey. He cared for them enough to do something. He asked what was available: seven loaves of bread and a few fish. He took this and blessed it and broke it, giving it to the disciples to distribute. When all the people had eaten, seven baskets full of bread were collected! This crowd was numbered at 4000 men plus the women and children!
Compassion for the hungry and hurting is the heart of God! His greater compassion is for the souls of the lost and their eternal salvation. Compassion ministries must always be coupled with preaching the gospel of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sins. It’s the reason Jesus came and the mission that He gave His disciples and us! (Luke 19:10) (Matthew 28:18-20)