Christlike compassion means more than feeling sorry for someone.

A Call to Christian Living –

Christ-Like Compassion

Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus opens the eyes of two blind men.
Mark 1:40-45, Jesus heals the leper with a touch.
Luke 7:11-15, Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain.
Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan.
John 13:1, 4-5, 12-15, Jesus teaches His disciples to serve each other.

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Christ Raising the Son of the Widow of Nain. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.


Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus opens the eyes of two blind men. (11/3/2008)

The two blind men probably made their living by begging, which was more acceptable in first-century Palestine than it is in 21st-century America.  They called on Jesus using a Messianic title:  "Lord, Son of David."  When he asked what they wanted from him, they could have asked for alms, but instead, they boldly requested a cure for their blindness.  And they got it!

Mark 1:40-45, Jesus heals the leper with a touch. (11/4/2008)

Sometimes I feel sorry for somebody, but I don't feel the urge to do anything about it.  Maybe I figure that he got himself into it and needs to get himself out of it; or maybe I'm just too busy with my own life.  Compassion isn't just feeling sorry for somebody.  Compassion is sympathy coupled with a desire to do something about it. 
 
Other times, I actually want to do something, but I don't.  Maybe I can't; or maybe the person won't accept anything that I could do; or maybe I'm just too busy with my own life.  Christ-like compassion is sympathy and desire to do something and actually doing something! 
 
There doesn't seem to be a record of a time that Jesus was too busy with his own life to help someone who needed his help and asked for it.  Maybe I'm just too busy.

Luke 7:11-15, Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain. (11/5/2008)

A childless widow in first-century Palestine was in a world of hurt.  Not only was she bereaved, but she was simultaneously impoverished.  Probably she would having to make her living by gleaning or begging.  When Jesus saw the widow of Nain about to bury her only-begotten son – the Greek word is the same as the one used to describe Jesus – he felt sorry for her, he wanted to help her, and he took action.

Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. (11/6/2008)

A few years ago, we had a guest preacher from one of the charitable organizations here in town – maybe a homeless shelter or soup kitchen,  I forget exactly.  The text for the day was the one we read below.  The preacher took some pains to point out that in spite of how well it fit what he wanted to talk to us about, he hadn't chosen it.  He said he always preached from the lectionary, and this just happened to be the text.  Anyway, he said, "Our neighbor is the person who is in need, to whom we have access."  Christ-like compassion always involves action.  That's probably why the access is important.  But notice that the preacher and the lay worker crossed the road to avoid having access to the person in need.  If we take ourselves out of the action, I don't think that counts as "not having access."

John 13:1, 4-5, 12-15, Jesus teaches His disciples to serve each other. (11/7/2008)

I have to buy special shoes, so I have a long-standing relationship with the owner of one of the local shoe stores.  Once while he was sitting on that nifty little stool they have and doing something or other to my shoes, we were talking about life, and he said with a wry grin, "I spend all day touching other people's feet."  He was making the point that he cannot afford to be "proud."  Who touches your feet?  Not your shoe salesman these days, unless you are buying special shoes.  Probably not your doctor, unless you see a podiatrist or an orthopedic specialist.  Probably not even your children or spouse, except in unusual circumstances.  In Jesus' day, the ones most likely to touch another person's feet were slaves, or possibly the lower-ranking servants.  When Jesus washed the disciples' feet and told them to do the same, he was not encouraging them to go out and get jobs as slaves.  He was telling them that they must approach each other with a spirit of humble service and Christ-like compassion.  Christians cannot afford to be proud. 


More on Christian Living
A Call to Christian Living
Christ-Centered Community
Charitable Giving
Christlike Compassion
Christ-Led Courage
Living So It Shows
Overcoming Sin
Sharing the Good News
Who Is Your Legacy?
Five Spiritual Disciplines
Christian Character
New Life and New Standards
Living in the World
Love One Another
Again, Love One Another
And as a Final Word, Love One Another

Copyright 2008, 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

The illustration of Jesus calling us to Christian living is from the family Bible of John O. Spencer and Lydia Bunn, married 18 Nov. 1857 in Hector, Schuyler Co., NY. A complete listing of the posted images from this Bible is given at
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Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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