Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 25th May 2023: Jesus has compassion

Helping others Compassionate Matthew 9 Jesus Help

Reading : Verses from Matthew, Chapter 9

Jesus heals crippled woman

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


We usually look at today's reading and stress the need for more church leaders, but instead let us look at Jesus' reaction to the people. Matthew tells us that Jesus felt compassion for them. The word itself comes from a Latin word meaning "to suffer together". To feel compassion is to feel another's pain and want to help take away their suffering. Matthew tells us that Jesus felt 'compassion' for the people. The leaders of the day, with their arguments about how the Law of Moses should be obeyed often saw the ordinary people as sinners and as those whom God had rejected, rather like the chaff that was destroyed and burnt at harvest as being of no use. But Jesus saw the people as the harvest that was to be reaped and saved.

Jesus was moved to feel the pain of those who were blind, or lame, or suffering mentally, and the sad and the lost. He had empathy for their pain and he could feel their longing for God. But like lost sheep they didn't know where to go and what to do. Without compassionate leaders they were lost, and we can feel Jesus' pain.

Recently I encountered a stranger who stopped to help me and who didn't 'walk on by'. To be compassionate we need to "walk in another's shoes"; to try and imagine what it's like to be them at that moment; and then we have to do something about the situation. We cannot solve the world's problems, but perhaps we can help some people. We can also continually pray for those who need help!


Lord Jesus Christ,
as You saw the helplessness of the people
and had compassion on them,
may we too feel the pain of those in distress.
Show us how not just to emphasise with those in need,
but to act in any way that we can.
May we also never forget to ask for Your help
to solve the ills of the world,
whatever they may be.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look at this article on compassion:

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