“I came so that my sheep will have life and so that they will have everything they need. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11, GW)
What’s in our hearts often determines what we feel when we look at people. When we see a crowd, we can easily get irritated or impatient. But when Jesus saw a crowd, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, ESV).
That’s the same way God looks at you: With compassion. He doesn’t put you down. He lifts you up! No matter how angry, hurt, or betrayed you feel, Jesus will always respond with compassion. He knows how helpless we are without him, “like sheep without a shepherd.”
Without a shepherd, sheep are defenseless. They don’t have any claws, they don’t run fast, and their teeth are not very sharp. They need the protection of a shepherd.
Throughout the Bible, sheep are a symbol of God’s people. John 10:10-11 says, “I came so that my sheep will have life and so that they will have everything they need. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (GW).
That kind of compassion comes only from Jesus, our Good Shepherd. And it’s different from sympathy and empathy. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you’re hurt,” and it stops there. Empathy is a deeper commitment that says, “I hurt as you hurt.” But compassion says, “I will do anything it takes to stop your hurt.”
And that is, in essence, what Jesus did through his life, death, and resurrection. He did anything it took to stop your hurt, even if it meant dying on the cross, even if it meant having nails pounded through his hands and feet. Compassion does whatever it takes.
Jesus said the reason he came was “not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NLT). Notice the two words “serve” and “give.” They define what it means to follow Jesus.
Do you look at people who are hurting and helpless the way Jesus does? Are you full of love and compassion, willing to do whatever you can to stop their pain? The Bible repeatedly tells us that when Jesus looked at people in pain, he was moved with compassion. God wants you to be like him, which means looking at others the same way.
Lord, lead me to be compassionate toward those around me who are hurting. As You have shown Your love to me, let me show that love to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.