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As I ate lunch at my fifth-grade table, kids began teasing me. It started with one and swelled, the comments becoming crueler.
Soon it became the majority of the table. Then a voice spoke up, calling one, then more out. By the time this boy quit speaking, the class had begun to apologize. Steve was my neighbor. He was a little kid, but he had authority and he used it. As I finished, he went outside to watch over me. Steve had compassion on me that day.
Look at Hebrews 1:1: "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his son whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the universe." Genesis 1: 27 said, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
We are all created in the image of God, our creator, but that image has been scarred by disobedience in our lives. What would it look like if that were not so? I saw the remnant of that image in Steve that afternoon. Let’s look at Jesus’ life to see it clearly.
Jesus’ disciples had just come back from ministry, excited to tell Jesus what had happened, but so many people were coming and going that they hadn’t even had time to eat. Jesus decides to take them to a quiet place by themselves to rest.
This is where we pick up in Mark 6: 34. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9: 36 reads, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
“So he began teaching them many things.”
The Greek word for compassion here is a strong love that moved him so much that he could feel it in his inner parts. You know the feeling. Jesus had it for people who had not even met him but whom he knew intimately.
Matthew 15: 32 relates, “Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Again with the compassion.
Jesus taught, fed and healed out of compassion. In Matthew, we see this compassion once more.
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” (Matthew 20: 34).
When we ask God for forgiveness and follow Jesus, we find the capacity for more compassion. Find fellowship with God’s people. God will restore his image in you.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Rev. Christie American Horse is pastor of Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.
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