* Compassion goes beyond keeping the law
Poor people and debtors were allowed to pay their debts by selling themselves or their children as slaves. God ordered rich people and creditors not to take advantage of these people during their time of extreme need. This woman’s creditor was not acting in the spirit of God’s law. Elisha’s kind deed demonstrates that God wants us to go beyond simply keeping the law. We must also show compassion. (NLT)
2 Kings 4:1 – One day the widow of one of Elisha’s fellow prophets came to Elisha and cried out to him, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.”
* Be as compassionate as God is to you
Elisha’s prayer and method of raising the dead boy show God’s personal care for hurting people. We must express genuine concern for others as we carry God’s message to them. Only then will we faithfully represent our compassionate Father in heaven. (NLT)
2 Kings 4:32-36 – When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the room a few times. Then he stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!
Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in Elisha said, “Here, take your son!”
* Some need compassion more than advice
Job said that Eliphaz’s advice was like eating the tasteless white of an egg. When people are going through severe trials, ill-advised counsel is distasteful. They may listen politely, but inside they are upset. Be slow to give advice to those who are hurting. They often need compassion more than they need advice. (NLT)
Job 6:6-7 – People complain when there is no salt in their food. And how tasteless is the uncooked white of an egg! My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it!
* Sailors showed more compassion than Jonah
By trying to save Jonah’s life, the pagan sailors showed more compassion than Jonah, because Jonah did not want to warn the Ninevites of the coming judgment of God. Believers should be ashamed when unbelievers show more concern and compassion than they do. God wants us to be concerned for all of his people, lost and saved. (NLT)
Jonah 1:13 – Instead, the sailors tried even harder to row the boat ashore. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.
* Compassion – responding to the needs of others
The paralyzed man’s need moved his friends to action, and they brought him to Jesus. When you recognize someone’s need, do you act? Many people have physical and spiritual needs you can meet, either by yourself or with others who are also concerned. Human need moved these four men, let it also move you to compassionate action. (NLT)
Mark 2:3 – Four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.
* Compassion of Jesus
Jesus not only demonstrated great power, he also showed tremendous compassion. Jesus’ power over nature, evil spirits, and death was motivated by compassion—for a demon-possessed man who lived among tombs, for a diseased woman, and for the family of a dead girl. The rabbis of the day considered such people unclean. Polite society avoided them. But Jesus reached out and helped anyone in need. (NLT)
Mark 5:41-42 – Holding her hand, he [Jesus] said to her, “Get up, little girl!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! Her parents were absolutely overwhelmed.
* Show compassion instead of judging others
This is a significant statement about judging others. Because Jesus upheld the legal penalty for adultery, stoning, he could not be accused of being against the law. But by saying that only a sinless person could throw the first stone, he highlighted the importance of compassion and forgiveness. When others are caught in sin, are you quick to pass judgment? To do so is to act as though you have never sinned. It is God’s role to judge, not ours. Our role is to show forgiveness and compassion. (NLT)
John 8:7 – They kept demanding an answer, so he [Jesus] stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!”
* Luke is an example of compassion
One of the essential qualities of a good doctor is compassion. People need to know that their doctor cares. Even if he or she doesn’t know what is wrong or isn’t sure what to do, real concern is always a doctor’s good medicine. Doctor Luke was a person of compassion.
Although we know few facts of his life, Luke has left us a strong impression of himself by what he wrote. In his Gospel, he emphasizes Jesus Christ’s compassion. He vividly recorded both the power demonstrated by Christ’s life and the care with which Christ treated people. Luke highlighted the relationships Jesus had with women. His writing in Acts is full of sharp verbal pictures of real people caught up in the greatest events of history.
Luke was also a doctor. He had a traveling medical practice as Paul’s companion. Since the gospel was often welcomed with whips and stones, the doctor was undoubtedly seldom without patients. It is even possible that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was some kind of physical ailment that needed Luke’s regular attention. Paul deeply appreciated Luke’s skills and faithfulness.
God also made special use of Luke as the historian of the early church. Repeatedly, the details of Luke’s descriptions have been proven accurate. The first words in his Gospel indicate his interest in the truth.
Luke’s compassion reflected his Lord’s. Luke’s skill as a doctor helped Paul. His passion for the facts as he recorded the life of Christ, the spread of the early church, and the lives of Christianity’s missionaries gives us dependable sources for the basis of our faith. He accomplished all this while staying out of the spotlight. Perhaps his greatest example is the challenge to greatness even when we are not the center of attention. (NLT)
Luke 1:1-4 – Many people have written accounts about the events that took place among us. They used as their source material the reports circulating among us from the early disciples and other eyewitnesses of what God has done in fulfillment of his promises. Having carefully investigated all these accounts from the beginning, I have decided to write a careful summary for you, to reassure you of the truth of all you were taught.”
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