February 8 – Compassion – Eyes of a shepherd

Read Matthew 9:1-38

  • A paralytic was made to walk.
  • A sinner was forgiven.
  • A man of reputation was invited to follow.
  • A dead girl was raised.
  • A suffering woman was finally made whole.
  • Two blind men were given sight.
  • A mute man was given speech.

The truth is, there was no disease or sickness that could withstand the healing power of Jesus. As He travelled, He restored them and taught about a kingdom, in which He was King.

Did it ever get old? Did the needs ever seem overwhelming? Like the exhausted parent who has given and given and given, did He ever lose His sensitivity? It would seem not. Verse 36 indicates that the thing driving Him was the compassion of a shepherd’s heart. Compassion was this gnawing emotion that He felt deep inside . . . an emotion that kept Him teaching, proclaiming, and healing. The action, you see, flowed out of an emotion.

And the emotion stemmed from an observation. When He observed the people, He did not make the first glance observations that assessed appearance and assets. He did not see well dressed, young, upward mobile, professionals who had life by the tail. He did not see people who seemed to know where they were going and how to get there. No, the Good Shepherd saw sheep. Sheep that were troubled. Sheep that were harassed by life and by their own ways of thinking. Sheep that were dispirited, having lost a sense of direction and purpose in life. He saw sheep without a shepherd. He saw people who needed Him as the Good Shepherd.

You see, it was that observation of needy sheep that led to the emotion of deep compassion and ultimately gave rise to the action of teaching and healing.

There is no doubt that the ministry needs around you are overwhelming. Jesus said it Himself, and He invites us to pray that God would raise up workers (vv. 37, 38). But for those already serving, make sure that the steam, the motivation for your ministry is not depleted. Ask God to enable you to once again see people the way He does. It is out of that observation that compassion and action will flow.

Perhaps this YouTube video will help you express that desire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY

Steve Kern

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