A Clearer Picture of Compassion

Compassion is action, not a feeling, though the results of it may cause emotional demonstration. 

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Luke 7:13-15 – And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

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So many people equate love (the love of God) with feelings (emotions).  This should not be the case.  God’s love is manifest toward man in three forms.  Mercy is the love of God shown towards all mankind at all times, enduring forever.  This is not emotional, but arises from the very identity of God (agape), and is not directly connected to relationship, or even grace.  While grace, the highest manifestation of God’s love, must be found through faith at the throne of God, mercy is given without question.  Compassion, the manifestation of the love of God seen in our Text for Today, is a deliberation demonstration of the Word of God upon a human need.  In the four Gospels, we see the compassion of God used in two verbal framings.  In our Text for Today, we read that Jesus “had compassion” on someone.  The other verbal framing is found in the words that Jesus “moved with compassion.”  Both phrasings are important, and need to be closely examined for clear Biblical understanding of what they mean.  Let’s take a moment and break it down.

JESUS HAD COMPASSION….  “Jesus” is the Word made flesh.  The word “had” speaks to something being deliberately held on someone.  It creates the image of Jesus holding compassion on someone like a cold compress would be held on someone suffering from heat exhaustion.  The word “compassion” speaks to one of the manifestations of the love of God, and since God is love, we can legitimately insert “God” into the position of compassion.  In other words, we would read, “The Word held God” … on them.  More clearly stated, when one speaks the Word of God into the situation in someone’s life, holding fast to the profession of their faith, the confession of their faith is holding God on that situation.  Change is coming.

The other phrasing says JESUS MOVED WITH COMPASSION ….  Once again, let’s define our terms as in the paragraph above.  “Jesus” is the Word made flesh.  “Compassion” a manifestation of the love of God, is God.  But here we use the word “moved,” which simply means it went into operation; it did something.  Key to this phrasing is the preposition “with.”  We often hear people say Jesus was moved “by” compassion.  This is not true.  The Word (Jesus) goes into operation (moves) WITH (in full unity and cooperation) God (compassion).  What we see in our Text for Today is the living Word holding God on this situation.  Something good had to happen.  It always does when God’s Word is held immovably in faith on any situation.

Manna for Today – Luke 7:11-17; Mark 11:22-24; Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Isaiah 55:8-13; Joshua 1:6-9; Hebrews 4:16

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