When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them. (Matthew 9:36)
Many of you will have had the experience where the Holy Spirt draws near and reveals to you a particular facet of the person of Christ with new depth and reality. I experienced one of these moments recently.
I had been watching a video where we see Jesus being faced with a woman who is brought to him, having been caught in the act of adultery. It is followed by the scene where Jesus is sitting by a well in Samaria and a woman of ‘ill repute’ approaches the well to draw water. In both cases, we see women who were despised and rejected by others. Their contemporaries, looking only at the surface, distain them. The first woman was to be stoned to death while the second was living a life filled with rejection, cut off from fellow human beings. Then Jesus comes along. In quiet compassion and kindness, He gave both women a chance of a fresh start.
These are not the only times where we observe Jesus’ compassion for mankind. In Matthew 11:28-30 we read these beautiful words:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The NLT Study Bible footnotes explain that, “In contrast to the ‘yoke’ of religious leaders, Jesus’ yoke is easy and light, not because it is less demanding but because the power of the Messiah (by the Holy Spirit) makes it possible.”
The footnotes also remind us that the Pharisees placed heavy burdens of religious observance on the Jewish people. As well as expecting adherence to the 613 commandments mentioned in the law of Moses, an 'oral tradition’, replete with hundreds of extra rules that expanded on the already existing ones, was also added to these. No wonder the people were burdened and heavy laden!
Now Jesus walks onto the scene and we read the following, “People are invited to enter into a relationship with a humble and gentle teacher.” (NLT footnotes)
Sometimes the burdens we carry in life are caused by our own sin. Other times it’s simply life’s circumstances. But whatever the situation, and whoever we are, whether women, or sinners, or lepers, or children, or the sick, or spiritually needy, Jesus’ compassion is poured on us all.
The hymn writer William Cowper once said,
“Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, but God never will”.
Whatever your situation, remember that Jesus was“moved with compassion.” (Matthew 20:34) when faced with human need. Bring Him your need today for He has compassion on you too.
Pauline Ann Anderson
Copyright © 2014 Struthers Memorial Church All rights reserved
Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.