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Compassion of Jesus

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Jesus: Full of Compassion

By Ed Dobson

Scripture: Mark 8:1–13, especially verse 2: “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.”

Introduction: If you were asked to choose ten words to describe yourself, would one of them be compassionate? Just what is compassion? Is it simply a feeling? How do we react when a homeless person asks us for money? Do we say, “God bless you,” and walk away? How are we to treat the boss when he doesn’t recognize hard work, but only criticizes? Jesus answers these questions in our text today.

     1.     The Compassion of Jesus (v. 1–2). The word compassion used here to describe Jesus is actually two words put together: a word that means to feel sympathy for someone and a second word that means one’s “gut.” The idea is that Jesus was moved to the very core of His being. What Jesus felt for the crowd He feels for us this morning. Did you know that? Whatever your need, where ever you are on your journey, whatever struggle you’re facing this morning, Jesus feels for you from His heart. He’s not only aware of your need; He’s concerned about your need. And Henot only concerned about your need, He is sympathetic toward your need.

A.     Compassion that Prompted Action (vv. 2–8). Whenever the word compassion is associated with Jesus, it’s always followed by action. In Mark 1:40–41, Jesus was, “moved with compassion, (and) stretched out his hand and touched him …” In Mark 6:34 Jesus saw a crowd and was moved with compassion so He began to teach them. Jesus not only feels compassion for you, but He will always act on it.

B.     Compassion that Was All-Inclusive (vv. 2, 11). Jesus’ compassion reached out to the critical (v. 2) and the critics (v. 11). Jesus saw that the crowd’s need was critical, “And if I send them away hungry … they will faint on the way …” (v. 2). Are you wondering how you will make it through another week? Jesus cares about you. He desires to give you the strength and nourishment to make it. He also cares about the critical. The religious leaders came to argue with Jesus (v. 11), but instead of yelling or fighting, Jesus sighed deeply (v. 12). I think it was a sigh of compassion. He loves those in critical need and those who are critical of Him.

C.     Compassion Rooted in Personal Experience (Matt. 4:1; Heb. 4:15). Remember that Jesus fasted 40 days (Matt. 4:1); He knew what hunger was. The compassion of Jesus is rooted in His own human experience (Heb. 4:15). He understood what it meant to be hungry. What needs or temptations are you struggling with? He knows and understands them all.

     2.     The Action of Jesus (vv. 5–7). You may want to circle the verbs in this section: He took … He blessed … He broke … He gave. What a pattern for our lives!

A.     Given to Jesus (v. 6). If you and I want to be used by Jesus, the first step is the complete surrender of ourselves to Jesus, giving ourselves completely, without reservation, without holding back.

B.     Blessed by Jesus (v. 7). Much is mentioned of material or spiritual blessings from God, but the core of what it means to be blessed by Jesus is not only to be taken by Him, but to be set apart by Him for His purpose, for His objective, for His will, for whatever He wants to do in our lives. Don’t ask Jesus to bless you if you are unwilling to surrender everything to Him.

C.     Broken by Jesus (v. 6). Brokenness is the model Jesus set for us. How does He “break” us? Through circumstances, through sickness and disease, through disappointment, through criticism, through opposition, through failure, through the demands of everyday life. In a sense, we cannot be multiplied until we are broken.

D.     Given to Others (v. 6). We are blessed and broken in part for our benefit, but primarily for the benefit of others. What God gives us back is blessed, broken, and forever altered and changed. Why? So we can give that away to bless others. Are you ministering to others? If we are not, we need to go back to being surrendered.

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