THE COMPASSIONATE CHRIST
Intro: Compassion! When that word is used, most folks don’t have any idea
at all what it means. Some people think of weakness when that think of
compassionate people. Men especially are guilty of viewing compassion as
something “weak, soft people do”. In truth, expressing compassion
towards others reveals a strength of character that few people possess!
You see, we live in a compassion-less world. Most people place
themselves and their family above any other consideration in the world. The
sad reality is that most people simply do not care what happens to others!
They do not possess compassion. In fact, I would venture to say that most
people don’t even know what it means to have compassion!
The word compassion, as it is used in the Bible means, “To be moved
inwardly; to yearn with tender mercy, affection, pity and empathy.” It
refers to the deepest possible feelings. The phrase, “moved with
compassion” means to be moved in the “inner organs”. It has the same
idea as our modern expression, “From the bottom of my heart.” Someone
has defined compassion as “Sympathy coupled with a desire to help.”
Sympathy means “The capacity to share feelings, to enter into the same
feelings, to feel the same thing”. So, compassion is “sharing the
feelings of others and possessing a desire to help them in their
When we read the Gospels, they tell us of Jesus and His great
compassion for mankind. We see that our Savior was moved deeply in His
inner being by the needs of those around Him. In this message, I would like
to address this matter of compassion. I want to preach about The
Compassionate Christ. I want to talk about what motivated Jesus to be
compassionate and how we can become more compassionate ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I surely need all the help in this area that I
can get. Too often, I am selfish and self-centered, but I want to be; I need
to be more like Jesus. Let’s look at The Compassionate Christ this
evening and learn His secrets for caring about the needs of others.
I. THE ORIGINS OF HIS COMPASSION
A. Originated In His Essence - How could Jesus reach out to all the
people He did? How could He care about so many different people
with so many different problems. What motivated Him? Think for a
moment about Who Jesus is. He is God in the flesh! He is not
encumbered with a fallen nature. He is not selfish. He is not self-centered. He transcends all the faults and flaws that mark humanity!
Many people read the Old Testament and come away with the
idea that God is mean, wrathful and harsh. Yet, Jesus, in the New
Testament, reveals the exact nature of God, John 1:18; John 14:9.
He is holy. He is a consuming fire. He is a God of wrath and
judgment. Yet, He is also a God of infinite love, grace, mercy and
(Ill. A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out. A Christian
Scientist came along and said, "You only think that you are in a
pit." A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into a pit." A
compassion-less Fundamentalist said, "You deserve your pit." A
Charismatic said, "Just confess that you're not in a pit." A
Methodist came by and said, "We brought you some food and
clothing while you're in the pit." A Presbyterian said, "This was
no accident, you know." An Optimist said, "Things could be
worse." A pessimist said, "Things will get worse!" Jesus, seeing
the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.
That is the essence of Christ and of His compassion. That is the
spirit we need operating within us this evening!)
B. Originated In His Experiences - One reason Jesus was able to
express such sympathy for others was His Own experiences in life.
Jesus did not come into this world to live an idyllic life! The life He
lived was difficult at best! He grew up, lived and died in abject
poverty, Luke 2:24; Matt. 8:20, when He died, His worldly effects
consisted of just the garments on His back, John 19:23-24. He
knew about loneliness, Matt. 14:23; Mark 6:47. He was despised,
hated and rejected, John 1:11; Mark 14:50. He even endured a
time of severe temptation, Matt. 4:1-11.
(Ill. Jesus knew the feeling of pain. He knew what it felt like to hurt
deeply and as a result, He is able to enter into our hurts with us. He
is able to feel our pain, Heb. 4:15!)
II. THE OBJECTS OF HIS COMPASSION
(Ill. A brief study of the gospels reveals the truth that His compassion
knew no boundaries. Jesus felt the need of all classes and kind of
people. His love and compassion are a challenge to each of us tonight!)
Feels Compassion For The Scattered Ones - Matt.
B. He Feels Compassion For The Sinning Ones - Mark 5:1-20 (Ill.
When Jesus arose, He sent special word to Peter, who had denied
Him three times, Mark 16:7!)
C. He Feels Compassion For The Sick Ones- Matt. 14:14; 20:30-34;
D. He Feels Compassion For The Suffering Ones - Luke 7:11-13
E. He Feels Compassion For The Seeking Ones - Mark 10:17-22
(Note: Why was Jesus able to do this to so many different kinds of
people in so many different settings and situations? Because Jesus,
even though He knew all their faults, did not let that get in the way
of His compassion and expression of love! He did not look just at
that which was apparent on the surface, He was able to look at
these people and see their deepest need! He loved them at the
deepest level of His being, as a result, He was never impatient with
them or offended by their needs.
How do we see people? We often base our evaluation of a
person on what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears. (Ill.
Some possible scenarios!) What we need to learn is to look past
a person’s exterior to see them as they really are. We must see
their needs before we can express compassion to them! May we
learn to see them as Jesus does! )
(Ill. Stephen Covey tells of an unusual experience on the New York
subway. While people were sitting quietly in the car, a man entered
with his noisy and rambunctious children. The man sat down and
closed his eyes as though he was oblivious to his rowdy children.
The once quiet subway car was now a disturbing place of chaos.
The children's inappropriate behavior was obvious to everyone
except their father. Finally, Covey confronted the man about his
children. The man opened his eyes and evaluated the situation as
if he were unaware of all that had transpired: "Oh, you're right. I
guess I should do something about it. We just came from the
hospital, where their mother died about an hour ago. I don't know
what to think, and I guess they don't know how to handle it either."
Compassion starts when we begin to understand the hurts of
What do you see.....?
III. THE OBJECTIVES OF HIS COMPASSION
A. The Objective Of Instruction - A brief look at the gospels reveals
that the disciples knew nothing of compassion. James and John
wanted to call fire down from heaven to punish a Samaritan village
that refused to receive Jesus, Luke 9:54. Another time the disciples
wanted to send a hungry crowd away with nothing, Mark 6:34. The
disciples had no compassion for the people.
• They did not really see them at all.
• They were too caught up in the lives they were living.
• They were not concerned for the people.
• They had no thoughts of reaching outside their circle and helping
the people around them.
It’s sad, but it is also easy to see ourselves in these men! Aren’t
we often self-centered and selfish? If it doesn’t touch our lives our
the lives of our family and friends, then it is no affair of ours! Why
are we that way? Why did Jesus have to teach His disciples about
compassion and why do we still need the lessons today?
I think the answer lies in the fact that compassion is against our very nature. We are selfish and concerned only with ourselves!
That which does not touch us personally does not matter! That
is why Jesus had to teach His men about compassion. That is why
we still need the lessons today!
(Ill. Jesus used two illustrations to teach the need for compassion -
The parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:30-37. The parable
of the Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-24.)
(Ill. A banker had just turned a man down for a loan, then made an
unusual offer. He said to the man, "I have one good eye and one
glass eye. If you can tell me which is which, I'll approve your loan."
The man looked for a moment, then said, "Your left eye is your good
eye." The banker was surprised. "That's right," he said. "How could
you tell?" The man said, "I detected a hint of compassion in the other
(Note: It may against our human nature to be compassionate, but it
is not against our new nature! When we are saved, we are given all
the resources we need to feel the needs and burdens of others -
Eph. 4:32; Gal. 5:22-23!)
(Ill. even though the little creatures in Winnie the Pooh are
imaginary, we can see ourselves in them. This particular scenario
reveals how downright insensitive we often are.
Pooh Bear is walking along the river bank. Eeyore, his stuffed
donkey friend, suddenly appears floating downstream … on his back
of all things, obviously troubled about the possibility of drowning.
Pooh calmly asks if Eeyore had fallen in. Trying to appear in
complete control, the anguished donkey answers, “Silly of me,
wasn’t it.” Pooh overlooks his friend’s pleading eyes and remarks
that Eeyore really should have been more careful.
In greater need than ever, Eeyore politely thanks him for the
advice (even though he needs action more than he needs advice).
Almost with a yawn, Pooh Bear notices, “I think you are sinking.”
With that as his only hint of hope, drowning Eeyore asks Pooh if he
would mind rescuing him. So, Pooh pulls him from the river. Eeyore
apologizes for being such a bother, and Pooh, still unconcerned, yet
ever so courteous, responds, “Don’t be silly … you should have said
In truth, when we love others as we should, we will not wait to be
asked. We will be moved with compassion for them and we will get
busy helping them for Jesus’ sake!)
B. The Objective Of Involvement - Not only did Jesus want to teach
His men about compassion. He wanted them to become involved
in the ministry of showing compassion to others. He wanted them
to start seeing people as He saw them. He wanted them to be
moved by the needs of others. So moved that they were compelled
to do something about those needs. He wanted them to become
(Note: Compassionate involvement is the essence of the “Golden
Rule”. In Matt. 7:12, Jesus gives us the golden rule. He wasn’t the
first to say something like this. In fact, the Jews, the Hindus,
Buddhists and others has been saying similar things for years. For
example: Hindu Faith: “This is the sum of duty: do naught to
others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.” Jewish
Faith: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That
is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” Zoroastrian Faith:
“Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.”
Buddhist Faith: “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”
Greek Philosophy, Socrates, “Do not do unto others what
angers you if done to you by others.”
They all sound similar don’t they? However, there is one subtle
difference. All these I have just shared with you are negative in
nature, while the words of Jesus are positive in nature. You see all
those other religions warn men to withhold evil from others. They tell
us what not to do. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us to be active in
reaching to others in the same manner we would desire to be
reached out to. There is a difference!)
(Ill. A businessman and his wife were busy to the point of
exhaustion. They were committed to each other, their family, their
church, their work, their friends.
Needing a break, they escaped for a few days of relaxation at an
oceanfront hotel. One night a violent storm lashed the beach and
sent massive breakers thundering against the shore. The man lay in
his bed listening and thinking about his own stormy life of
never-ending demands and pressures.
The wind finally died down and shortly before daybreak the man
slipped out of bed and took a walk along the beach to see what
damage had been done. As he strolled, he saw that the beach was
covered with starfish that had been thrown ashore and helplessly
stranded by the great waves. Once the morning sun burned through
the clouds, the starfish would dry out and die.
Suddenly the man saw an interesting sight. A young boy who
had also noticed the plight of the starfish was picking them up, one
at a time, and flinging them back into the ocean.
“Why are you doing that?” the man asked the lad as he got close
enough to be heard. “Can’t you see that one person will never make
a difference—you’ll never be able to get all those starfish back into
the water. There are just too many.”
“Yes, that’s true,” the boy sighed as he bent over and picked up
another and tossed it back into the water. Then as he watched it
sink, he looked at the man, and smiled, and said, “But it sure made
a difference to that one.” Often, there is so much to do that it
sometimes can seem overwhelming. But, any difference made in
the life of another through the ministry of compassion will bear fruit
to the glory of God!)
(Note: How involved are in the ministry of showing compassion to
others? I would just remind you that it is God’s will for every one of use,
Gal. 6:2. As we do, we will demonstrate to saint and sinner alike that
we are indeed the children of God, Matt. 5:16; John 13:35!) (Ill. 1 John
Conc: While walking home from school, a boy named Mark noticed the boy
ahead of him had stumbled to the ground and dropped everything he was
carrying. Mark hurried to the boy’s side and helped him collect his
belongings. Surprisingly, the boy was carrying an especially hefty load.
There was a baseball glove and bat, a couple of sweaters, a small tape
recorder, and an armful of books. Mark helped him carry the things home
and his new friend, Bill, was most appreciative of his compassion. During
the walk home, Mark discovered Bill was struggling in school and had just
broken up with his girlfriend. When they arrived at Bill’s house, he invited
Mark in for a Coke and they spent the rest of the afternoon talking, laughing,
and watching TV. Although the two boys never became real close friends,
they kept up with each other throughout the rest of junior high and high
school. Several weeks before graduation, Bill approached Mark and asked
him if he remembered that day they met when Mark helped him with all of
his stuff. Mark nodded as he remembered. Bill then asked, “Did you ever
wonder why I was carrying so many things that day?” Without pausing for
an answer, Bill explained he had cleaned out his locker and was going home
to take his life. He had been storing away sleeping pills and was headed
home to end it all when Mark happened along to help him out. Bill told Mark
how that simple act of compassion inspired him to go on living. He said,
“Mark, when you picked up my books that day, you saved my life!” Imagine
how many times our small, seemingly insignificant gestures of concern may
reignite the flame of life and inspire someone to continue on.
Thankfully, compassion has a way of doing that. You never know what
a little compassion will accomplish! I need help in this area! How about
you? Remember, compassion is more than feeling sorry for someone. It
is more than pity. Compassion is a desire to reach out and make a
difference in the life of someone else. In truth, compassion is a desire to be
Christ to someone else!