The Compassion of Jesus

The day after Jesus healed the sick servant of a  centurion in Capernaum, He travels eighteen  miles to a city called Nain. It is located on the  northwestern edge of a mountain called Little Hermon,  where the ground descends into the Plain of Esdraelon.  On this day, Jesus performed one of His greatest miracles  (Luke 7:11-17). As Jesus begins to enter the city, He  meets a funeral procession exiting the city gates, most  likely, going to the sepulchral caves along the steep  eastern approach from the plain. It is still the eastern  custom to carry the dead out of the cities and villages, as  Luke portrays in this event. Jesus immediately surveys  what is taking place, and notes that this funeral is for  the only son of a widow. Luke records, “ And when the  Lord saw her, he had compassion on her ” (Luke 7:13),  and raised her son from the dead.

This should not surprise us, since this was not the  only time he showed compassion for those bereaved.  When He saw those bereaving for Lazarus, “ Jesus wept ”  (John 11:35). There were many times during the earthly  life and ministry of Jesus that He had compassion for  others (Matt. 9:36; 14:14). He showed compassion  for those unfortunate, including two blind men on the  Jericho road (Matt. 20:34) and a leper (Mark 1:41). This  also is representative of the compassion of God, since  Jesus Himself is deity. God showed compassion on the  Israelites when they were in Egyptian bondage (Exod.  3:7). Although Judah had become wicked, “ the Lord God  of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising  up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on  his people, and on his dwelling place ” (2 Chron. 36:15;  cf. Ps. 78:38). Although His justice cried out to deliver  them into captivity, God showed compassion on them  by promising to deliver them back to Israel again (Jer.  12:15). “ But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion ”  (Ps. 86:15).

Therefore, it is no surprise to see the Son of God  showing compassion in this situation. However, for all  practical purposes, notice the response of the people:  “ And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God,  saying, ‘That a great prophet is risen up among us’; and,  ‘That God hath visited his people’ ” (Luke 7:16). Would  not more people respond to the gospel if we showed  more compassion like Jesus? People of God are to be  a people of compassion: “ Inasmuch as ye have done it  unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done  it unto me ” (Matt. 25:40). “ But whoso hath this world’s  good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up  his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the  love of God in him ?” (1 John 3:17). Let us be more determined to be a compassionate  people, seeking and saving “ that which was lost ” (Luke  19:10).

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