The Compassionate One

“When Jesus saw her weeping,
and the Jews who had come along
with her also weeping,
he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 
‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.
‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.
Jesus wept.”
John 11:33-35 (NIV)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15 (NIV)

Approaching Christmas, we now consider the Coming One as the Compassionate One.

When you want to see the compassion of our Saviour you don’t have to look far. One entire Gospel is filled with stories of Jesus and His love for people who are suffering —how humble people, and people on the fringe of society were drawn to Him. If you want to read about the lowly shepherds, the despised Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, the widow giving her last two bits of money into the temple treasury, the rich man and the beggar Lazarus, the repentant thief, and other scenes—they are exclusive to Luke’s Gospel. Yet the other three Gospels share scenes of the Compassionate One including our text for today from the Gospel of John.

In today’s story we read that Jesus, a long way from Bethany (2-3 days journey), the home of Lazarus and his sisters, had a message sent to him. The message was simply a statement of the fact that the one He loved was sick. Many of us have been in a similar situation. A loved one is gravely ill and we don’t know how to pray so we simply state our situation to the Lord and leave to Him the outcome.

There is much encouragement for us as John tells us two reactions of Jesus to the death scene and the weeping by the family and friends. First, He was very emotionally distressed. His emotions boiled over. Secondly, He wept. Our Saviour complied with Paul’s command in Romans 12:15. Surely the Good Shepherd deserves the title the Compassionate One.

We may make a wonderful inference from the many biblical scenes of the Saviour’s compassionate lifestyle. In Hebrews 13:8 we read that Jesus is always the same. Thus, we know He mourns with us when we mourn and weeps with us when we weep just as He did in Bethany at the grave of His beloved friend Lazarus.

Come now to this Eternal, Omniscient, Compassionate One. He waits to be all this too you and more.

My God, how wonderful thou art,
thy majesty how bright!
How beautiful thy mercy seat,
in depths of burning light!

Wondrous are thine eternal years,
O everlasting Lord,
by holy angels day and night
unceasingly adored!

O how I fear thee, living God,
with deepest, tend’rest fears,
and worship thee with trembling hope
and penitential tears!

Yet I may love thee too, O Lord,
almighty as thou art,
for thou hast stooped to ask of me
the love of my poor heart.

No earthly father loves like thee,
no mother half so mild
bears and forbears, as thou hast done
with me, thy sinful child.

How wonderful, how beautiful,
the sight of thee will be,
thine endless wisdom, boundless pow’r,
and awesome purity!

Father of Jesus, Love divine,
what rapture it will be,
prostrate before thy throne to lie,
and gaze and gaze on thee!

F. Faber

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