Jesus Christ, the Compassionate

By J. L. Leifeste

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:18-19).

In this world, people are often unkind. They hurt each other physically and in other ways. Some people treat others with contempt, cruelty, or indifference. Some people cheat and lie. Some people gossip, hurting the reputations and the feelings of others.

Christianity involves godly characteristics. One of them is compassion. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), and love for humanity is the most powerful trait of godliness (1 Cor. 13). Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Born into this world, He took on human form. And He revealed the perfection of God to the world (Matt. 3:13-17; Jn. 1:14; 12:45; 14:1-10; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1-3). As the Son of God, and as God personified, we see Him as the most compassionate human who ever lived.

His Ministering To People While He Was Upon The Earth

“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed” (Mk. 1:40-42).

“And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!’ Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, son of David!’ So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, that our eyes may be opened.’ So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matt. 20:30-34).

Jesus Christ felt compassion for people with diseases and ailments. God’s power worked miracles through Jesus (Matt. 14:35-36; Lk. 6:19). He healed vast numbers of people while He was upon the earth (Matt. 15:30; 19:2; Lk. 7:21).

We find a comprehensive quality to His ministrations. He did not limit his healing to a few types of illnesses. He felt compassion enough to heal people who had all kinds of infirmities (Matt. 4:23). His generous hand of love touched the child, the adult, the nobleman, the beggar, the leper, the Jew, the non-Jew, the stranger, and those close to Him. See Matt. 8:2-15; 9:18-25; 17:14-18; Mk. 7:24-37; 10:46-52; Lk. 17:12-19; Jn. 4:46-53. Christ even healed the severed ear of a servant of the authorities who were taking Him away to torture and kill Him (Lk. 22:51).

Very often, Jesus healed regardless of place or time. His healing of others might be at a sea, at a pool, inside, outside, at a home, at a synagogue, or at a temple. His healing was not reserved to times of the day or days of the week. He even healed on the Jewish sabbath day (Matt. 12:8-13; 21:14; Lk. 13:11-13; 14:1-4; Jn. 5:1-16; 9:1-7). No one had a better right to work upon that day than the Lord of the sabbath (Mk. 2:27-28; Lk. 6:5).

Prophecies which foretold His great compassion

“When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses’” (Matt. 8:16-17; see Isa. 53:4). Isaiah foretold, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12). He fulfilled the prophecies because of His perfection and His love.

Christ also showed His compassion in other ways. He ministered to those who were hungry. “Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’ Then His disciples said to Him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ And they said, ‘Seven, and a few little fish.’ So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children” (Matt. 15:32-38). See also Matt. 14:13-21; Mk. 8:1-9; Lk. 9:10-17.

He demonstrated a special care for children and blessed them (Mk. 10:13-16). He voiced His love for the people of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37-39). And, although He showed the righteous anger of the Son of God, He grieved at people's ungodliness (Mk. 3:1-5). He tried to ease the fears of His apostles (Matt. 17:7; Mk. 4:35-41; Jn. 14:16). And He told His disciples that they were His friends (Jn. 15:15).

At times, Christ worked without a compelling thought of food for Himself. He pushed Himself in His ministry. And His activity, along with the demands of the crowds, sometimes carried Him to the point of requiring relief (Matt. 8:18; Mk. 3:7-12, 20; 7:24; Jn. 4:31-35).

He had so much compassion that He often took care of people in the face of persecution (Matt. 12:22-24; Jn. 5:16-18). We find a very touching example of His love that could be considered related to this. At one time, from the perspective of His being the Son of God, He affirmed that He considered His disciples to be His family (Matt. 12:46-50). However, as He was dying upon the cross, He revealed a godly, yet a very human tenderness. Seeing Mary, His physical mother, He lovingly entrusted her to the care of a dear friend and disciple (Jn. 19:26-27).

Christ cared for those who mourned. “And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother” (Lk. 7:12-15).

His New Testament teaches that His disciples should share the grief of others (Rom. 12:15). Because of His compassion, He raised more than one person from the dead. He not only raised strangers (Lk. 8:49-56), He also raised Lazarus, who was part of a family for whom He had much affection (Jn. 11:1-44). He offers us a spiritual resurrection, and He will raise us up in the last day (Rom. 6:5; Jn. 5:28-29).

His Commitment For The Healing Of Every Person's Soul

Christ was concerned that mankind did not have someone to lead them spiritually (Matt. 9:36-38; Mk. 6:34; Matt. 2:6; Jn. 10:1-11, 27-28). In relation to this, He spoke of more than being the spiritual Shepherd. He is the spiritual rest, the living water, the bread of life, and He gives peace to His disciples (Matt. 11:28-30; Jn. 4:14; 6:51; 14:27).

The compassion of Jesus Christ is evident because He let Himself be sacrificed for our sins. Only a perfect, sinless sacrifice could pay the penalty for our sins. He was perfect and gave Himself for us. See Rom. 3:24; 5:8; 8:3; 1 Cor. 15:12-15; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; Eph. 5:2; Phil.2:5-8; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:21, 24; 3:18.

Legions of angels were available to rescue Him (Matt. 26:53). But He refused to call for their help so He could die for us. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Christ told His disciples that He came to minister to others and to give His life for everyone (Matt. 20:28; Lk. 19:10; Jn. 3:17; 10:10; 12:47). “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

He showed so much compassion that He asked His Father to forgive those who were torturing Him and killing Him (Lk. 23:34).

He also shows His compassion by telling us how to receive the benefit of His death. To receive salvation from sin and eternal life in Christ, the sinner must believe the gospel, repent of his sins, confess His faith in Christ, and be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:36-38; 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12.) Paul reminded Christians, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5).

Jesus Christ has a special care for those who obey Him. The Father made Him Lord and Christ. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). His friends are those who obey Him. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (Jn. 15:10). “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (Jn. 15:14). We can know what He commands by studying His New Testament. The truth is found there, in His teachings, conveyed to us through His inspired apostles and prophets (Jn. 16:12-13; 2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 3).

We are also aware of the constant compassion of Jesus Christ because, from the moment the church was established, He intercedes for Christians (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). And His love for His church is powerful and steadfast (Rom. 8:35-39).

Jesus Christ is the most compassionate human who ever lived. His love for mankind is greater than the love of any other person who lived upon the earth (Eph. 3:18-19). He also expects His disciples, Christians, to follow His example by having great compassion (Matt. 5:16; 25:35-46; Lk. 6:35-36; Gal. 6:10; Col. 3:12-14; Heb. 10:24).

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’” (Matt. 20:25-28).