ODJ: Jesus’ compassion

November 6, 2015 

READ: Luke 7:11-17 

When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said (v.13).

Greg Boyle helped launch Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California. Geared specifically to help former gang members, it’s one of the biggest and most successful ministries in America. Boyle knows a lot about loving and caring for others. In his book Tattoos on the Heart he writes: “Compassion isn’t just about feeling the pain of others; it’s about bringing them in towards yourself.”

Compassion bridges the distance between us and another person. We intentionally, lovingly move towards them instead of bolting in the opposite direction in disgust or indifference. In imitating Jesus’ compassion, we wouldn’t ever act like the priest (a church leader) or the Levite (a temple assistant) who put as much distance as possible between themselves and the wounded man who is described in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). The tale goes on to reveal that the least expected person—a Samaritan, who the Jews despised and the highly religious of the day avoided—acted the most like Christ. As Jesus told His listeners, “Now go and do the same” (v.37). The parable is a reminder that all of us, especially those of us who try to follow Him closely, are capable of acting without love towards our neighbour.

Instead, may we live out God’s compassion as revealed by Jesus in His encounter with the widow of Nain. When He saw the funeral procession and knew that her only son had died, “his heart overflowed with compassion”. He said, “Don’t cry!” (7:13). Then Jesus raised her son from the dead. He moved towards her and lovingly addressed her need. May we, like Christ, learn to move towards others with compassion that flows from the very heart of God.

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Acts 19:21-41

Read Psalm 145:8-21 and consider the aspects of God’s compassion it highlights. 
Do you lack compassion for a certain person or group of people? How can you develop a more compassionate heart that reflects God’s own?