The Compassion of Jesus

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Jn. 20:18-20

For the purposes of this post, notice that last line: “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” But first…

Have you ever done or accomplished a certain task fully to its end? Normally, when we do that, we want to sit back and relax and have our favorite cup of coffee! (Being the original African, I prefer a hot bowl of red millet porridge). We want to take a holiday! We want to ‘let off steam’ or something. More importantly, of course, we consider it our ‘hard-earned’ right to take such a breather.

How long did it take the Lord Jesus Christ to present His blood, His own, eternal sacrificial blood, to the Father? We cannot know because with the Lord time is not time as we know it. But in GMT time, within approximately 10 hours, Jesus had presented His own blood to the Father and, having accomplished all of His Father’s will to perfection, in a jiffy He was back with His disciples!

Jesus had accomplished His mission; He ought to have rested. Can you imagine, that same evening, He was back on earth with His disciples! Had it been me I probably would have taken a year off and played heavenly golf or something. But not Jesus.

Indeed, it is interesting that we do not read anywhere where Jesus was able to take a vacation or holiday or anything like that. I am sure He must have desired to, but circumstances would not allow.

We read of another instance, when after the Lord Jesus had sent forth the twelve apostles to minister and they came back and He desired that they should go and seek a place to rest. In other words, Jesus attempted to go on vacation. Let us see in detail what the scriptures say here.

30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. Mk. 6:30-44

There is no doubt in this account of scripture that Jesus and His disciples needed a rest. The Bible says, “for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat”! So Jesus ordered a vacation.

But when Jesus saw the people who had gathered again, He had compassion on them. He abandoned His ‘holiday’ and went to minister to them. And He did not only minister to them with the Word, but He also gave them food to eat.

In the light of these two examples, can we possibly think that we are sacrificing too much time, money or energy for people? Hardly! The love of God ought to constrain us more and more and drive us to give of our lives to people more and more.

But more importantly, we need to know what it was that drove Jesus to do these things. It was love. Right here I can confidently say that our understanding of God’s love is less than 50% – and that is probably overstating it still. Imagine Jesus (in the first scripture), having gone back to the glories of heaven, and not thinking about them, but instead thinking of some inconsequential, sinful, disreputable humans back down on earth? And just imagine, His heart literally ached for them!

Jesus must have said to God, “Father, I just have to go back!”

And God (for conversation’s sake): “Where to, Son?”

“I yearn for my brethren, my disciples.”

“OK, Son, you go right ahead”, God would have answered. “I am with you.”

Much of our ‘service’ is done out of a dry sense of duty. But I can assure you it was compassion that drove Jesus so fast from heaven to come down and comfort His distraught disciples. Notice, “the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews”. Jesus’ disciples were fearful! But Jesus came down and appeared to them and said to them, “Peace be unto you.” And when they had established that it was Jesus, they were comforted. “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” 

It is sometimes so easy for us, so far removed in time and space from the situation that Jesus’ disciples were in, to not see it in its gravity. But God’s heart is super-sensitive towards His church.

Yes, Jesus came back for many things, but we can clearly see the chief reason He came back immediately at that particular time was to comfort His disciples. Can we possibly yearn for our brothers and sisters to the extent that we are willing to leave our comforts and rights and privileges and go and ‘be with them’ in even the simplest of gestures?

And do you know what? Jesus has not taken any vacation yet. He is in heaven right now, at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us (Heb. 7:25)! What love! What compassion! What incredible sacrifice!

[Below: A Kurya homestead in the Serengeti; but it’s the brethren, up close in the second pic, who are more interesting!]

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“Pure Religion and Undefiled”!

 

10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Jn. 20:10-17

Jesus told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” Jesus was on a mission. In fact He was on the greatest ‘ministry’ that will ever be carried out on earth, and probably in heaven.

It would appear that Jesus had just resurrected and He was on His way to Heaven. He was on His way to do something that we cannot possibly describe in human terms: He was about to present His own blood to God the Father as the sacrifice God was awaiting in order to forgive humankind’s sins, past present and future (Heb. 9:12).

Jesus was about to ascend to God the Father! He was about to perform the greatest act of all time, the presentation of His blood to God.

The mission Jesus was on was so important and it was so far removed from the human realm that He could tell Mary, “Touch me not!” And it is the very act of revealing Himself to Mary at such a spiritually ‘sensitive’ time that brings the profundity of it all out.

Why would Jesus who was on this very sensitive heavenly mission reveal Himself to Mary at that particular moment? He could have let the angels deal with her, and they would have ministered to her satisfactorily.

But there are small things that Jesus notices, which we sometimes don’t. Just as He was about to ascend, Jesus saw Mary weeping. He saw deep into her heart, and He felt her grieving. And no, Jesus would not leave a grieving Mary. Jesus must have told God the Father, “Father, I know this is way outside the assignment at hand, but please bear with me; I need to minister to someone here.”

God is love. I am aware of preachers today who are so ‘holy’ they are no earthly good. I saw one self-styled prophet in my country telling someone on live TV, “Go look for another pastor to deal with your problem, if you are not ready to reveal your need in public!” The man was thinking more about his ‘prophetic’ ministry than that sister, whom he pushed away so rudely. His ministry involves ‘confirming’ what people tell him, and he makes sure every detail is clearly filmed on TV. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But God is not about theatrics or vain glory. God is love. Jesus felt Mary’s grief, and it touched His heart. And His love for her was so much that He could not just leave her there grieving. He revealed Himself to her and in that manner offered her the biggest comfort and consolation she could ever imagine!

And He loved His disciples so much He just had to give Mary a personal message for them.

What heart do we have towards people? Are we so very ‘holy’? We couldn’t possibly be holier than Jesus was at that very moment that He ministered to Mary; and we couldn’t possibly have a more important ‘ministry’ (towards God) than Jesus had at that particular moment. And yet at that very moment (and probably breaking every rule in heaven) Jesus thought of Mary and His disciples above everything else! What love! What ministry!

Let us be men and women who carry the heart of Jesus. Religion without love is dead. Actually, the Apostle James ties a holy life to our actions towards those who are in need or suffering. In James 1:27 he says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

That’s the heavenly combination: living a holy life and ‘visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction.’ It is not one without the other. The two complement each other.

[Below: No ‘ministry’ is greater than feeling someone’s heart]

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Mercy

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Lk. 10:36-37

This story refers to the Good Samaritan, of course. I am sure everyone has heard of the Good Samaritan.

What was “good” about this Samaritan? We call him “good” because he showed mercy. He showed mercy by doing something for a hurting person. He paid a price to show mercy.

In my computer’s Thesaurus, I found many words which refer to the word “mercy” in the sense that Jesus indicated it here.

Amongst them: compassion, pity, kindness, sympathy, generosity. I will add “tenderness of heart”.

I do not claim to know chess very well, but it appears to me that in the game of chess the king is everything. Every other piece can go and the game will continue. But you so much as threaten the king, and unless he is “covered” the game will have to come to an end.

In this scripture, the word “Do” is king. Everything hinges on this word.

I love Jesus’ words, “Go, and do likewise”. Do what? Show mercy, of course. Show mercy to someone in need.

Have you ever thought of the fact that every day you come into contact with people who are in need of mercy? Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. But I believe that if we are walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will point out these needy people to us.

And they are many, I can assure you. They are very, very many. And sometimes they are much closer to us than we think. Probably even your husband or your wife is one of them.

In our religious mentality, we are tempted to think that probably only street beggars need mercy – but just yesterday I read of a very famous actor in the U.S. who died apparently through a suicide. This was a man who needed mercy, and he probably never got it.

The truly important thing is how we who are the members of the Body of Christ respond, if we do at all. I am ashamed to say that there are many times when I have clearly felt the Holy Spirit leading me to show mercy to someone, but I found myself either too fearful or too selfish to respond. I just continued on in my own business.

That makes me feel uncomfortable. Not condemned, but uncomfortable. I know that the Lord in His unending grace will give me another opportunity to respond to someone who needs mercy. But through my inaction some life somewhere will have suffered unnecessarily, not to mention some who might even have been lost forever.

When we allow the cross to work in us, however, we will find ourselves putting aside our selfish agendas and living sacrificially for other people, all the time. That is why we need to emulate Apostle Paul who said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31).

And when we find ourselves fulfilling Jesus’ words, “Go and do likewise”, what joy it brings to our hearts and what grace it brings to our lives!

One of the greatest things we can accomplish in the gospel of Jesus Christ is to carry a tender heart for hurting people. A tender heart founded on the cross of Jesus, living sacrificially enough to do something.

Have you shown someone mercy today? Was your heart touched by someone’s suffering and did you do something for them – probably simply give them a cheery smile? It is the little things that we do that bring a difference to people’s lives.

If you did so, I am sure the Lord is pleased with you.

If you have not shown mercy to someone today, there is no judgement. You are not under any condemnation.

And the door is still wide open.

“Go and do likewise”.

[Below: Can you know someone’s heart?]

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A Sinner’s Worth

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Mat. 18:11-13

How much is a person’s life worth? The Bible says that God gave up ALL He had because He considered each sinner’s life worth that much. The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Our lives were worth all that God had. You cannot lay a price to such a revelation.

But it is the individual touch that speaks volumes about God’s compassion, mercy and grace.

Beyond the fact that God sent His only Son Jesus to come to die for us, the scripture we just read in Matthew 18 gives us an even more amazing description of the incredible worth that God attaches to a sinner. Two factors are revealed here. One is that God goes for the sinner as if he were the only person in the universe. The second, even more incredible thing is that God goes after that person Himself, personally.

I remember, many years ago, how one night the Lord came calling at my heart’s door. This is how it happened. I was in my final year at the university. But I was also a sinner of the most frightful sort. That night I was all alone in my room when all of a sudden I felt a deep, indescribable grief welling up in my heart. There was no preamble; just as suddenly it was there, and without a thought the tears began rolling from my eyes. The grief was so overwhelming that it shook me till I thought I would tear apart.

Having never experienced anything of the sort before, I thought it was a sickness. But it was past midnight and the dispensary would be closed! So I lay in my bed, sobbing uncontrollably, till morning.

In the morning, I felt all right again, so I did not bother to go to the dispensary.

Thereafter, every night after that, the Lord would come and stand in my room. And then He would softly call out to me. You appreciate, of course, that I did not know then that it was the Lord. I neither heard a Voice, nor did I see any Body. I did not even feel a Presence. In fact, having established that it was not an illness, I decided it was just a feeling, and I was convinced it would soon go away!

It was long after I got saved that I came to understand the surreal drama that had been unfolding in my room those many nights back then.

I cannot remember for how long this went on, but on countless nights until the semester ended, I would spend half the night (and sometimes the entire night) standing under the showers, crying my heart out. I would cry till the tears had completely dried from my tears. Even after I had stopped crying I would continue standing under the shower, savoring a strange kind of peace. I must have cost the university a neat bundle with the water bill!

When I went home for the vacation, the Lord made His final call. I had continued living my old sinful life, of course, since I had no way of knowing that the Lord had been calling. Then, one day a pastor and three young men passed by our home. They found me there all by myself, just as I was finalizing my ‘plans’ for the evening. I would never have guessed that that would be the end of the road for the Mwita that I was then; but it was. By the time these blessed men left our house an hour later, I was back in the Lord’s fold.

It happened so suddenly, and no other member of my family was even around.

To this day, I can never fathom what it was that drew the Lord to me. I cannot understand what it was that caused Him to come looking for me. However hard I look, I cannot find anything of worth in me that could have attracted the Lord to me. I can only accept His gift of faith which teaches that He did all that out of love. Not because there was anything good in me, nor because there was any ‘worthiness’ in me, no. Indeed, I am convinced (and the Bible affirms it) that it was because of my very unworthiness that He was so overcome with compassion and mercy that He decided to give me worth.

And He did not give me any old worth; He gave us – me and you – His very own worthiness! He gave us the best that He had, the best of the best!

I give my Lord and Savior praise and glory and honor and thanksgiving for the incomprehensible grace and mercy that He showed me then, and which He continues to show to me today. And there is also something more… My heart yearns with all its strength for such a heart of love and compassion as my Lord’s. A heart that can give the best that I have. A heart that can deal with an individual person as if he or she were the only person in the world.

In reality, this is a commandment. We are commanded by Jesus Himself to love people in that manner. It is an incredibly enormous responsibility we have been shouldered with, and we are hardly up to the task. We need to cry out to God for His grace in our lives.

If I had only one prayer to make, I would not ask for any other thing. I know exactly what I want from the Lord: that particular heart of love and compassion. Somehow, in my heart, I know that those are the only true riches, the only real treasure – and therein is the richest contentment.

Of Eternal Life and the Royal Priesthood

Of Eternal Life and Royal Priests

 

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  Lk 10:25-37

 

There are two things that I love about this story. One is the fact that the story of the Good Samaritan is associated with inheriting eternal life (verse 25). In other words, doing something as simple as this Samaritan did can guarantee you eternal life. That’s truly amazing.

But much of the time our flesh prevents us from doing the will of God in our lives.

I am sure you appreciate the fact that it is not like the priest and the Levite did not want to help the fallen man. I am sure they must have felt terribly distressed at the predicament facing the poor soul. Being men of the cloth, they must have prayed for him all the way to wherever they were going.

But it is clear that the situation in hand needed more than a prayer. Action was required. A substantial price was involved here. Someone needed to risk their lives to help this suffering man.

I tell you – I am not perfect myself – but I have been in situations where you could laugh with the bitterness of it all. People are so afraid to die to self!

Jesus said, “Do you want to inherit eternal life? Then get out there and do something. Don’t just pray, don’t just preach – GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING!”

Our claim to eternal life comes with a price. Indeed, I am convinced that it is in the inheriting of God’s Kingdom that we pay the highest price.

Notice that Jesus did not say, “A fellow Jew came down that way”. No, Jesus specifically picked out two men who were servants of God and ministers of the people of God. In the new covenant that we have with God every born-again believer is a priest. More even than the Levitical priesthood, the Bible calls us “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9). What an incredibly high calling! And yet, again, what a stupendously huge responsibility!

The second thing that I love about this scripture is the total, unconditional love that the Samaritan showed to the wounded man. If ever the word “compassion” needed a description, the attitude and actions of this good man embody it fully.

We can clearly see a revelation of the cross and the grace of God in the life of this Samaritan. For him it was not even a matter of risking his life. On the contrary, he counted his life as lost. It was crucified with Christ’s, and he counted himself dead with Christ. Oh, if only we could arrive there!

Only through identifying his life with Christ’s could this man be able to show true compassion to his neighbor. I deliberately use the word “true” here because there are things of men and there are things of God. True things are only those that come from God. For compassion to be true it must be born of God.

When we carry the true love of Christ in our hearts we will minister to people totally and unconditionally. We won’t tell them things like, “Don’t be so dumb next time!”

There are people hurting all around us. Some hurts we see, some we don’t. But I can assure you that when we are living a life of denial to self and taking our cross and following Jesus, God Himself will lead us to hurting souls and we will be able to give them our all, totally and unconditionally.

We see such a spirit of nobility in this Samaritan. He did not speak or do one negative thing to the man he had helped. Nor did one negative thought cross his mind. His whole attitude was one of true royalty. A royal priest.

A song by Keith Green.

 

Jesus – A Man of Compassion

And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

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. Lk. 7:11-15

I have not ‘departed’ yet, and so I am back. I am back, not just to write on this blog but, more importantly, to live out the Christian life. I know how comfortable it would be to just relax on my chair and spend days on end up just churning out teaching upon teaching on this blog. But for me, there is no greater joy than to find myself physically sharing the gospel with someone, meeting people “face to face”, as Robin Hood tells the Sheriff in Disney’s animated classic!

But more about that later…

The Bible has many touching stories. For me probably the most moving of them all is the story of Jesus stopping that bier and commanding the young man to rise up.

I often wonder what it must have meant to that old widow…

The Power of Humility – Chronicles of a Bus Conductor (Pt. 2)

(I have modified the title of both this and the previous posts because in both I am talking about one person – a young, Muslim bus conductor. The accounts I am narrating here are true. I witnessed them with my eyes.)

A week or so after I had witnessed the conductor choosing not to fight that woman in the bus, I met him again, in a completely different scenario. This time, a group of us was driving to a function in a brother’s car. We were approaching an intersection when I noticed, just ahead of us, that vehicles had stopped. We were supposed to have the right of way at this intersection so, ever curious, I checked out the window to see what had caused this mini-traffic jam.

My heart beat with excitement – or was it fear? – when I saw the same conductor helping two children who, it appeared, had remained stranded, unable to cross the 4-lane road. He was holding them by the hand and slowly leading them across. This is something I have never seen a conductor do here; and I guess everyone else found it somewhat unusual because all cars on both sides of the highway stood still till the conductor had taken the kids across. By the time they had crossed over, the lines of cars had stretched for quite a distance both ways but, as if to salute the man, no vehicle made a move until the conductor had crossed back to his bus.

Once the kids had safely crossed over, the man quickly raced back to his bus, his sandaled feet hitting hard at the tarmac, and we heard the bus begin to move.

As the traffic began flowing once again I was trembling as I spoke to my fellow passengers in the car: “Guys, mark that man; there is something I want to tell you about him!”

I attempted to narrate to them the incident of that particular conductor with the woman who had insulted him. Having witnessed the conductor’s remarkable behavior once again with the children, the story registered deeply with each one.

Someone once said, “I have met a lot of non-Christians in church, and that’s not a judgment”.

I will also say this: I have met a lot of wonderful, loving people outside of church, and this makes me wonder whether we who consider ourselves Christians are not taking the grace of God for granted. Let us fear and tremble lest we be found fruit-less at the appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Heart of the Matter

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Mat 23:23

Values. It’s a rather stiff word and I have never seen it in the Bible – at least not the KJV which I read. In his day, Jesus had a problem with people who esteemed ‘values’ above people.

The Bible says that “mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (Jas. 2:13). That means that with God there is both judgment and mercy, but He chooses mercy above judgment in dealing with us.

What we choose between these two in our daily dealings with our fellow men is of utmost importance to God as far as our relationship with Him is concerned!

Our God is a God of compassion

Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 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 Lk 7:12-15.

We cannot begin to imagine the commotion that followed the execution of this high-end miracle. In fact, the Bible takes note of three things that took place as a result of this sensational deed:

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” (v.16).

And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about” (v.17).

“And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things” (v.18).

Likewise, we today are easily taken in by the “activity”. But don’t get distracted by the hyper-action. Whatever else that was accomplished through this miracle, and whatever importance that was attached to it – and there certainly was much – the Bible nonetheless makes clear the one thing that drove Jesus to resurrect that young man: He was driven by compassion.

Today there is much emphasis on the practical aspect of Christianity, but the “practical” we want to deal on is the works per se, as it were. We want to show off the miracles, the healings, the so-called deliverances, etc.

Yet, with Jesus, the practical was always about the heart. He invariably did all the great works He did out of the deep compassion that filled His heart. This is as it should be for the Bible says the reason that God sent Jesus to earth in the first place was to “to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant” Lk. 1:72. Moreover, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” vs 77-79.

We see the same pattern of conduct with the early Apostles, as can be seen from what is written in the Book of Acts and the Epistles. The Apostles were not men who overly emphasized the works. They had something else to talk about, something much more profound. They talked about the revelation of the cross, and the power it has to change a man’s heart and make it tender and compassionate like Jesus’ heart was.

Have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount? The only reference there to workers of miracles is one that should make us sit and consider more the condition of our hearts rather than the miracles themselves.