The Compassion of Jesus
THE COMPASSION OF JESUS
At the first of the year the challenge that was extended to all of us was to “Learn More About Jesus.”
- More about who He is; more about what He did; more about what He said.
- And that is important because before I will ever surrender my will to the will of Jesus, I first must believe that the will of Jesus is supreme.
- And before I will ever commit my life to the word of Jesus, I must first believe that the word of Jesus is certain.
- And before I will ever give myself as a slave to Jesus, I must first believe that Jesus is the Lord.
- It is all about Jesus! Unless you are converted to Jesus you have nothing.
A lot of people are converted to a way of thinking (We stand and pound doctrine and ritual); a lot of people are converted to the church (they are actively involved in the activities of their church); a lot of people are converted to baptism (baptized because that is what it takes to be saved); people are converted to a lot of different things…but unless you are converted to Christ…unless you truly become His disciple…unless He sincerely becomes your Lord…you have nothing!
- You see, Jesus is not just some prophet to just be listened to…He is God; He is the Savior; He is the Messiah; He is to be worshipped, honored, and praised. (It may be that Christianity is the only religion where the “author and perfecter” of what we believe is to be worshipped)
- It is all about Jesus…and the only way you will ever commit yourself to Him, and obey Him even when you don’t want to, and serve Him is if you fall in love with Him…so it is critical that we learn more about Jesus.
So, let’s look at the passage that was read…and let’s each one dedicate ourselves to be more like Jesus. Look at verse 35 again:
35 And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
- Now, when we read this we just read it in black and white and we just go on.
- But I want you to notice the things that Jesus is doing: He is going; He is teaching; He is proclaiming (or preaching), and He is healing.
- And notice what He is “proclaiming” or “preaching”; “the gospel of the kingdom”…”good news!”
- If you look back in chapter 4:16, 17 these people that Jesus is preaching to were “sitting in darkness…and in the land and shadow of death”…they were lost and without hope.
- And for many of them their religious leaders had convinced them that God would have nothing to do with them…that they had no possibility of ever entering into the kingdom of God.
- But then Jesus comes to them…and He doesn’t just sit around…He doesn’t just find a comfortable place to stay…He goes…to all the cities and villages! (He had a message that these people needed to hear…what does that say about how He felt, about how God felt about them?)
- And He was “teaching in their synagogues…and proclaiming the “good news” of the kingdom” (He is telling these people that they CAN enter into the kingdom of God), and to prove that what He was saying is true He was “healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
- And that set Him apart…that made Him special…because there were a lot of other people going around teaching and preaching…but none of the others could heal “every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” (Just think about the “every kind”.)
- This didn’t just set Him apart…but it declared Him to be the “Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
- You see, unless you are converted to Him, unless you put your faith, hope, trust, and obedience in Him you have nothing.
But there is something else here. Look at this found in Luke 4:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
- You see, what Jesus is doing here in Matthew 9 is exactly what the Prophet Isaiah said He would do in Isaiah 61. (730 years before Isaiah said, “This is what the Messiah…the anointed One will do.)
- Jesus is not only the Messiah…He is the fulfillment of prophecy…”all things are summed up in Him”…you see, it is all about Him and if you don’t have Him…if you aren’t converted to Him you have nothing.
Now, let’s learn something else about Him…look at verse 36: And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.
- I want you to notice the people…”they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.”
- The NIV says that they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
- The King James says they “fainted and were scattered abroad.”
The word “distressed” or “harassed” comes from a Greek word that means to “flay” and it means to “strip off the skin”…”to strip away”…to strip away their money, their possessions…to strip away their dignity…to criticize harshly…it is to harass.
- The people that Jesus feels compassion for are people who have had everything stripped away from them…and they are constantly being harassed!
And notice that they were “downcast” or “helpless.”
- This comes from a Greek word which means “to fling with a quick toss”; to fling indiscriminately.”
- This isn’t talking about “taking aim” and tossing like you would a waded up piece of paper at the trash can; or like you would a basketball toward a hoop.
- Those are both focused aims.
- This is talking about just “flinging something aimlessly…just getting rid of it…getting it out of the way!”
So basically the people that Jesus has compassion on here are those people who have been “stripped of everything” and just “tossed aside” as if they had no value….they are the poorest of the poor. (“Get out of the way, we don’t want you around us, just get!)
- And because they have been “stripped” and “shoved aside” and “tossed away”…they are like sheep without a shepherd (wondering aimlessly; no protection; at risk; easy prey; no security).
- Why would they not have a shepherd? Two possibilities: they were lost and the shepherd hasn’t found them yet; or the shepherd doesn’t want them back…he isn’t looking for them…that is pretty much the way their spiritual leaders, the Pharisees, and the Scribes, and the Priests, and the Rabbis looked at these people.
You see the Pharisees became the religious police and they became the standard bearers of what was acceptable, what was clean and unclean, and who could come to the synagogue and who couldn’t.
- Now in the mind of the Pharisees when they saw people that were blind, deaf, or paralyzed, or diseased, or sick, to them that was a punishment from God on those people for sins they committed or will commit…or it was a punishment from God for sins their parents or their families committed…and as far as they were concerned you were “unclean.”
And it wasn’t only the blind, deaf, or paralyzed or diseased and sick who were declared “unclean” there were others.
- People who were considered to be “sinners.”
- To us, we consider a sinner as someone who is outside of a relationship with God.
- But the people here were Jews…they weren’t Gentiles…they weren’t unbelievers…they were Sons of Abraham…they were in covenant relationship with God through the Law of Moses.
- So it wasn’t because these people were outside of a relationship with God.
- They were “sinners” because the Pharisees and Scribes designated them so.
- You see, for them “sinners” included almost everyone except for the Pharisees and the scribes, and the Priests, and the Rabbis.
- Tax Collectors were “unclean” and not allowed to enter into the synagogue (because they were in league with the Romans and because they handled Gentile money).
- Mule Drivers (because they did business with Gentiles).
- Tanners…the people who made leather; because a lot of the leather goods were sold to Gentiles.
- And money loaners…all these different people were considered “Unclean” by the spiritual leaders….and “discarded and tossed aside.” (“We don’t want you anymore.”)
But look at verse 36 again: “And seeing the multitudes He felt compassion for them…”
- The Greek says literally says, “His bowels yearned for them”…this was a deep down sorrow for them.
- But He didn’t just simply feel sorry for them…Verse 35 says He extended His compassion to them by teaching them, and preaching the good news of the kingdom to them, and by healing them.
- And how did He heal these people…well He didn’t do it in every case but most of the time He was touching, and touching, and touching.
- And in verse 37 and 38 He instructs His disciples to “beseech Him to send forth workers” to teach, and preacher, and heal the sick…in other words “Beg Him to let you go too.”
- And in chapter 10:1…His disciples go…and in chapter 10:7 and 8 the disciples “teach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and they heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.”
- In other words He is trying to give these “distressed and downcast” people HOPE.
Now I want you to look at this…there is a great verse in Isaiah 65:2
2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,
Jesus says it this way in Matthew 23:37:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
- When you consider Matthew 9; Isaiah 65; and Matthew 23 together…what is the picture you get of Messiah?
- It is Him with His hands out trying to bring His people home to God…especially the unwanted, the unwelcomed, and the unclean. (He even died with His hands out trying to bring people home.)
- But that picture is not just limited to Matthew 9…it is also found in Matthew 27.
Who else would do this for you? Who else would reach out like this to give you hope…to add you to the kingdom of God…to restore you back into full relationship with God…to save you from the condemnation of your sins?
- Your friend?
- Your parents?
- Your preacher?
- There is only ONE who would die for you so you can someday go to heaven.
- What will you do for Him?
Jesus is before you with His hands and arms stretched out…you will find no greater love for you.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2024