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Man had been on the earth for approximately 4,000 years before Jesus came(according to some Bible calculations). In that amount of time, God had spoken directly to the”Patriarchs” and then later, through the Law and the Prophets (Hebrews 1:1). While God’s plan of redemption wasn’t fully complete before Jesus’ advent, the core of the message had already been communicated over and over in many ways in “God so loved the world …” (John 3:16). In other words, God loves His creation. Despite people continually rebelling against Him, regardless of man’s inhumanity toward man , and all the sin issues that result in God having to separate Himself from mankind, He still loves us!
The reason why God has always loved His creation is because He IS love! (1 John 4:8,16). Since mankind is made in the image of God, it stands to reason that we too, have the capacity to love, as He does. Yet, even after thousands of years and many generations of people having been brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”(Eph 6:4), God still had to teach us that all important message of “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30-31) This was one of the main reasons why Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. It was to help us see the “heart” of God’s commands.
But, preaching, or reiterating the spirit of the law was not enough. After all, the Scriptures were available for anyone to read and learn, if they really wanted to know the will of God (cf. Nehemiah 8:8; Acts 8:28). Instead, Jesus had to teach us by His example. He had to physically show us how to put love into action. He did this by demonstrating what love looks like. His great sacrifice for us, done out of love, is His greatest example (John 15:13). He also demonstrated an extremely impactful example of love in His frequent displays of compassion.
Many times in the Gospel, we see the compassion of Jesus. He was often “moved with compassion” for the people. Through that great compassion, He healed their sick, fed them when hungry, cured diseases, and opened their eyes and ears (Matt 14:14, 15:32; 20:34, Mark 1:41). He not only exhibited it, but He also taught about it (Luke 10:33, 15:20). Thus, He expects us to behave the same way toward one another (Matt 18:33). Peter re-emphasized this last point, writing, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another …”(1 Peter 3:8).
The word compassion is found in a couple of different words in the original Greek. One is an emotion and the other is what is involved concerning the action of that emotion. The word for the emotion (seen in Matt 9:36) is defined as “to have the bowels yearn.” Bowels are often used to describe one’s inner self, the deepest sensibilities. The other word means, “to have or show mercy; to help the afflicted.” So, compassion is a deep seated desire to show mercy to someone else. There are many reasons to show compassion to someone, but it primarily comes from a place of agape love. This simply means we are to care about someone else’s well being as much as we care about our own (Phil 2:4). Naturally, it implies that we must always be ready to show compassion.
Oh, how we could all use a little more compassion in this dark and fallen world! Oh, how the church could benefit from all of us extending a little more compassion toward each another! It is a characteristic of living a godly life, which is why Jesus taught about it and demonstrated it so often. He did it so we could understand how we should behave as His disciples. Therefore, the next time you encounter someone that really tests your patience, gets on your nerves, or even challenges our faith, try extending a little compassion toward them. Let them see Jesus in you! Look at them the same way Jesus would look at them Would He show compassion to them? Yes? Then, so should you .