“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” vs. 36
When Jesus began to preach and teach and provide a healing touch for hurting people he was stunned at the response. The crowds were enormous, so much so that he scarcely had time to rest and eat. They came, Matthew says, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, and Jesus had compassion for them. This wasn’t just some feeling of pity but an outpouring of love that came from the very core of his being, and it moved him to action, even though it meant coming into conflict with the dominating powers of his day. It’s worth remembering his reaction as we encounter the harassed and helpless in our cities and communities. We see them from time to time, sometimes in our congregations, more often on our expeditions away from our sheltered and protected homes. In our affluent times our reaction to such persons can sometimes be judgment–we wonder why they don’t help themselves when opportunities for assistance abound. That’s how Jesus’ disciples felt some days–they wanted him to send the crowds away. But that’s not the Jesus way! He always reacted with compassion when he saw wounded hearts and lives, and in our world of hurt, we who bear his name are called to do the same. When people are harassed and helpless they don’t need more judgment. They’re looking for a compassionate shepherd who will lift them up and take them home!
Thought for the Day: When I have compassion, what do I do?