Jesus was moved with compassion in John 11:35 after Lazarus died, all because He was deeply concerned for souls. People are perishing all around us, yet why should we care? Could we be living in the day of abounding iniquity and cold hearts?
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Mat. 24:12)
Our motives can either reward us or defame us, and though we may mean well in what we say or do, it makes no difference to the outcome. We know from James’ epistle that “faith without works is dead”, but have we considered the idea that works without faith is just as dead? We should certainly express our faith through our works, and I believe also that we should be able to express our works through our faith.
Maybe this is the long way around to carry a point of truth but we think that these basic relationships must exist if we are to effectively glorify our Lord. Our faith is our motivation as we are doing God’s work with true loving compassion. The love of God cannot be transmitted through us if we are not working with the love He has given us. We are His hands, His voice and the giver of His gifts as we minister to the ones He sends us to. If we are not manifesting Jesus’ love, we are not doing His work.
When Jesus ministered, He expressed His personal, loving concerns for those whom He met along the way and for the multitudes who followed Him. Remember this account? “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 AV) He had compassion for all, regardless of who they were. There was the blind, “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. (Matthew 20:34 AV); there was the woman whose son had died, “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. (Luke 7:13-14 AV); then there was the leper, “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” (Mark 1:40-41 AV). The list goes on to include parables about those with compassion such as the father of the prodigal son and the “good Samaritan”. Jesus’ whole ministry had to do not just with what we would call being considerate or helpful, but with heart felt compassion, even to tears as in the case of Lazarus’ death.
If we are to do the work of Jesus it must be a work of compassion. If it is just a work of obedience to Him with little concern for the circumstances of others then we are not faithful to our calling as Christians. How often do we visit with someone whose loved one is in critical condition and try to cheer them up, believing that if we can get them to smile we have done our best. Compassion requires of us what it required of Jesus, to address the very root of the distress that has beset the grieving ones and deal with the situation in fervent prayer, seeking deliverance for the oppressed.
Jesus expects no less of us than the fruit from what He has provided us for doing His work. He said, ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12 AV) Here is where love translates into compassion. Where compassion is, there is Jesus, and where Jesus is, there is compassion. Jesus loved people so deeply that He was willing to die so that all could find Salvation in Him. If we have Christ dwelling in us we also have His compassion within us. But are we allowing Christ to have His perfect way in our walk with Him? Too often Christians begin well but in time begin to fall away into fleshiness. We need spiritual revival, not forgetting that without compassion for the lost and those in bondage there can be no revival, but fruitlessness for which our grafted branch will be removed and burned according to the Lord’s word.
If you are one whose love has grown cold, take heed of your condition, confess your failings to the Lord who will forgive you. Then do those first works of love and self sacrifice as you once did so that you may have peace and so that the sick will be healed, the blind see and the poor have the Gospel preached to them, all through the compassion that God gave you from the beginning for you to be the heart and hands of our Lord, Jesus, doing the greater works as he said.