All You Need Is Love: Compassion
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36
The northwest part of England—the so-called “hill country”—is sheep country. A stranger traveling in those parts might wonder at the large number of sheep grazing seemingly unattended, on the rugged fells (hills). But a closer look will reveal miles of dry-stone walls that provide boundaries to their grazing, and color markings that indicate their owner. Hill-country sheep do not lack for a shepherd; they are far too valuable.
And so are the people of God whom the Bible calls sheep. As Jesus moved throughout the towns of Israel, preaching and ministering, He saw people who seemed to be wandering through life without a divine Shepherd. And “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered” (Matthew 9:36). These were the very people He came into the world to save, people who were disconnected from the love of God. And Jesus’ compassion prompted Him to action—He raised up workers to take His reconciling Gospel into the world.
Let your love manifest itself in compassion, and let compassion result in action on behalf of those in need.
Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world. Francis Schaeffer
40068 Matthew 9:36-38 by Dr. J. Vernon McGee – TTB – Thru the Bible
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35
In a TV program, young adults posed as high school students to better understand the lives of teenagers. They discovered that social media plays a central role in how teens measure their self-worth. One participant observed, “[The students’] self-value is attached to social media—it’s dependent on how many ‘likes’ they get on a photo.” This need for acceptance by others can drive young people to extreme behavior online.
The longing for being accepted by others has always been there. In Genesis 29, Leah understandably yearns for the love of her husband Jacob. It’s reflected in the names of her first three sons—all capturing her loneliness (vv. 31–34). But, sadly, there’s no indication that Jacob ever gave her the acceptance she craved.
With the birth of her fourth child, Leah turned to God instead of her husband, naming her fourth son Judah, which means, “praise” (v. 35). Leah, it seems, finally chose to find her significance in God. She became part of God’s salvation story: Judah was the ancestor of King David and, later, Jesus.
We can try to find our significance in many ways and things, but only in Jesus do we find our identity as children of God, co-heirs with Christ, and those who will dwell eternally with our heavenly Father. As Paul wrote, nothing in this world compares with the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
In what or whom have you been striving to gain your value and acceptance? How does faith in Jesus open the door to your true identity?
1 Peter 1:3-9
Are you presently going through any difficulties? Maybe you’re experiencing a trial so intense that you wonder whether it’s possible to survive. Or perhaps you’re troubled by a particular hardship that drags on with no end in sight. And sometimes it’s the small, daily problems and stresses that wear us down and cause us to become discouraged.
Whatever the source of our adversity may be, Peter offers insight to help us recover hope and joy. He reminds us:
• God has reserved an inheritance for us in heaven, which is imperishable, pure, and eternal (1 Peter 1:3-5). We must lift our eyes upward instead of focusing on our troubles. If we’ve placed all our hopes in this life, trials will continue to lead us to despair. But as children of God, we have an inheritance that will far outweigh any temporal suffering.
• God is in control of our trials. Nothing comes our way randomly. Our loving Father ensures that our tribulations accomplish His unique purpose for each one of His children. He is sovereign over every adversity, including its duration, which is “for a little while” when compared to eternity (1 Peter 1:6).
• God uses trials to strengthen our faith. Jesus said those who don’t truly believe fall away when afflictions arise (Matt. 13:20-21). To go through suffering and remain true to Christ testifies to others about our salvation. And each test makes our faith stronger.
So, how should we respond in trials? Peter says we are to rejoice in our eternal hope, endure hardships, love Jesus, and keep trusting Him.
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” (John 11:1)
The family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus was well known to Jesus and His disciples. They lived in Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem. Jesus often stayed with them during His ministry, and several memorable events transpired in their home.
Word came that Lazarus was very sick. Jesus’ disciples reminded Him that “the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” (John 11:8). Finally it was clear Lazarus had died, and Jesus directed that they go to Bethany “to the intent ye may believe” (John 11:15). Thomas, however, could only see the danger: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).
By the time they got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days (John 11:17). Jesus insisted they open the door to the tomb. Martha tried to stop Jesus because “by this time [Lazarus] stinketh” (John 11:39).
Bodies begin to decompose within three to six hours after death; muscular tissues become rigid, cells lose structural integrity, and the chemical process of decomposition causes breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and bone.
Death is horrible. Death processes cannot be stopped or reversed. Death is the “last enemy” to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Yet at the command of the Creator, Lazarus walked out of the tomb fully whole: no decay, no sickness. Jesus simply said: “Loose him and let him go” (John 11:44). Why did Jesus do this? Because “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4). HMM III
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Cattle are driven; sheep are led; and our Lord compares His people to sheep, not to cattle.
It is especially important that Christian ministers know the law of the leader—that he can lead others only as far as he himself has gone….
The minister must experience what he would teach or he will find himself in the impossible position of trying to drive sheep. For this reason he should seek to cultivate his own heart before he attempts to preach to the hearts of others….
If he tries to bring them into a heart knowledge of truth which he has not actually experienced he will surely fail. In his frustration he may attempt to drive them; and scarcely anything is so disheartening as the sight of a vexed and confused shepherd using the lash on his bewildered flock in a vain attempt to persuade them to go on beyond the point to which he himself has attained….
The law of the leader tells us who are preachers that it is better to cultivate our souls than our voices…. We cannot take our people beyond where we ourselves have been, and it thus becomes vitally important that we be men of God in the last and highest sense of that term. PON151-153
Lord help me to listen to You and be spiritually nurtured, to have my soul cultivated by You in silence and solitude. Amen.
Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee.—Psalm 70:4.
Lord! along this earthly way
Thou Thy pilgrim greetest;
To Thy thankful child each day
Thou Thy love repeatest;
Thou dost bid me weep no more,
Thou dost teach this song to soar,
Thou dost all the sweetness pour
When my life is sweetest.
Thomas H. Gill.
I am thankful that I have learned, not only to see that I ought to say, but to feel what it is truly to say, “good is the will of the Lord” in little things as well as in great things. Many who seek to be enabled, and are in measure enabled, to say this in great things, have yet to learn what it is to say it in little things; and, in consequence, they are often heard complaining of what in little matters God appoints for them, in a way that contradicts the faith that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” and that, therefore, there is a good in all things, to be extracted from each thing as it comes, by receiving it in the light of love. Love to God, that love which receives God Himself as the portion of the soul in every cup, its sweetest ingredient, whatever other sweet ingredients may be in it, is as essential to the right understanding of what God does in providence as the faith that He is love in what He does.
John McLeod Campbell.
“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” Isa. 66:13
A mother’s comfort! Ah, this is tenderness itself. How she enters into her child’s grief! How she presses him to her bosom, and tries to take all his sorrow into her own heart! He can tell her all, and she will sympathize as nobody else can. Of all comforters the child loves best his mother, and even full-grown men have found it so.
Does Jehovah condescend to act the mother’s part? This is goodness indeed. We readily perceive how He is a father; but will He be as a mother also? Does not this invite us to holy familiarity, to unreserved confidence, to sacred rest? When God Himself becomes “the Comforter” no anguish can long abide. Let us tell out our trouble, even though sobs and sighs should become our readiest utterance. He will not despise us for our tears; our mother did not. He will consider our weakness as she did, and He will put away our faults, only in a surer, safer way than our mother could do. We will not try to bear our grief alone: that would be unkind to one so gentle and so kind. Let us begin the day with our loving God, and wherefore should we not finish it in the same company, since mothers weary not of their children?