We Need to Imitate Jesus’ Compassion

In every aspect of His life, the Son of God was perfect. As much as possible, we need to follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21) and have the heart/mind that He did (Philippians 2:5).

As we study the marvelous message of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we quickly see that Jesus showed compassion as He dealt with people. Our Lord not only was aware of the hardships and troubles that people faced: He cared about them and had a desire to help them. That is what compassion is. Jesus did more than sympathize with others who faced hard times . . . He demonstrated His compassion by taking action.

In what situations did the Christ show compassion? He had compassion on those who lacked food, as we read, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with me three days and have nothing to eat” (Mark 8:2). He then proceeded to feed about four thousand men.

Jesus showed compassion on those who were grieving. After the only son of a widow in the city of Nain died, Jesus had compassion on her (Luke 7:11- 13). We need to emulate such tenderhearted mercy.

Our Lord also demonstrated compassion on those who needed a spiritual shepherd. It is written, “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). When Jesus saw humans, He saw more than physical bodies . . . He saw people’s wants and needs.

Before Jesus fed about five thousand men, He showed compassion in at least two ways. At that time, according to Matthew 14:14, “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” He saw, He had compassion, and He took action. At that same time, what else transpired? “And Jesus . . . saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). What do we see? Jesus’ compassion caused Him to care about people’s physical and spiritual needs.

Finally, the Christ showed compassion/pity on those who messed up. For instance, after Peter denied Him three times, Jesus used the former fisherman to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:31,32) and serve the Lord’s sheep (John 21:15-17).

God wants each Christian to show compassion (1 Peter 3:8). We know where to find the greatest example of tenderheartedness — we see it in the life of Jesus. May we learn to be compassionate like Him!

— Roger D. Campbell