"OUR COMPASSIONATE LORD"
I. COMPASSION IS ONE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD.
A. As in the Psalm we read this morning, "The Lord is full of compassion."
1. Compassion is being moved with tenderness, combined with pity.
a. It leads to kindness, understanding, forgiveness, and mercy and grace.
b. In the Old Testament it is usually associated with the word gracious.
2. Often it was said of Jesus, that He had compassion on the multitudes, as well as the needs in individual lives.
II. THE THINGS THAT MOVED JESUS WITH COMPASSION.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
1. This man was begging Him and kneeling down before Him.
2. How far the leprosy had developed, or where it was on his body is not declared.
3. It was often very disfiguring. You know the feeling that you have when someone is horribly disfigured? It is often one of shock, but it is mixed with sorrow, pain, and pity. You feel sorry for them, you can imagine their pain, and it creates pity in your heart for their plight.
4. With this poor man that was kneeling before Jesus was another aspect of his life that drew the compassion of Jesus. His condition had also made him an outcast from society and his own family. He had been cut off from his friends, and very alone.
5. Maybe some of you understand just what that is about, you feel isolated or have been separated from a meaningful relationship. Your heart is broken and you feel so very alone.
6. Your condition is the very thing that moves Jesus with compassion.
And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
1. You can hardly picture a more pitiful state. A man who is being tormented by an unclean spirit.
a. Wild, untamed.
b. Living in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with rocks.
c. As the leper driven and isolated from his friends, but for a far different reason.
2. As the leper, he was probably very sightly. You can picture his wild shaggy long matted hair. His bushy beard. The wild look in his eyes, and the scars and the fresh marks of bleeding on his naked body.
3. You have seen the people on the streets who are obviously mentally incompetent, sometimes pushing shopping carts with all of their possessions, yelling at the air. Your heart goes out for their plight.
4. This kind of person moved Jesus with compassion. When this man begged to go with Jesus, Jesus told him to go home and tell his friends what great things the Lord had done for him and had compassion on him.
5. The person separated from home and friends as the result of his condition. This is what moved our Lord with compassion.
C. The disciples had just returned from their missionary journeys and were weary and tired because of the great crowds who were thronging them.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and out went them, and came together unto him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
1. The multitudes of people whose lives were without meaning or purpose. Blindly looking for anything that seemed to be attractive or novel. Following every new trend, or fad. Going from one experience to another looking for someone who really cared. Sheep without the guidance and supervision of a loving, caring shepherd.
2. We so often look upon them as unstable, flighty, shallow, but Jesus looked upon them with compassion.
3. Does your life seem to be without purpose, unmeaningful, have you been searching for something, or someone who really cares? Your plight is something that moves our Lord with compassion.
D. In the case that we have before us here in Mark 8
In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples [unto him], and saith unto them,
I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:
And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.
1. He had compassion on those who were so hungry to hear His word that they did not even eat for three days. They needed to be dismissed and sent home, but Jesus knowing their weakness, knew that some of them would faint on their way home, so He commanded His disciples to feed them.
2. His compassion was because of their physical weakness and fainting.
Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.
3. The compassion is prompted from understanding us. He knows our frame, He knows we are made of dust, not steel.
4. Some of you because of your weakness have fainted along the way. You are discouraged, and wondering if the Lord could ever forgive you or trust you again. If your are His child, His feeling toward you is not one of condemnation, but of pity and compassion.
E. The compassion always led to acts of mercy and grace.
1. He healed the leper.
2. He delivered the man from the evil spirit.
3. He became the shepherd and led the people into truth. He gave direction and meaning to their lives.
4. He fed the multitude.
III. It was the need in the persons life that moved the Lord to act in their behalf.
A. Had they not had the great need, it is quite possible that they would never have had the thrill of being touched by Jesus, and thus seeing the work of God in their lives.
1. As Jesus Himself said, "They that are whole need not the Physician, but they that are sick, I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
2. It is the person who is needy, and aware of their need that our Lord will have compassion upon and heal.
3. That very infirmity in our life that we have been ruing is the very thing that will prompt the work of God in our life.
B. I find it interesting that in every case where Jesus was moved with compassion, the people were drawn to Jesus.
1. In the case of the leper, He came and knelt before Jesus begging for help.
2. In the case of the man with the unclean spirit, He came running to Jesus and worshipped Him.
3. In the case of the multitude who were like sheep without a shepherd, they had run around the lake to meet Him when His ship made it to shore.
4. In the case before us, they had been with Jesus for three days, so intent on hearing His word, that they even neglected eating.
C. Some of you are here today out of a sense of duty, it is a part of the Sunday tradition.
D. Some of you are here today because of pressure, some friend or relative has been on your case to go to church. You have succumbed to the pressure, and have figured that you could probably endure it once, and maybe they will get off of your case.
1. In neither case are you apt to see the work of God in your life.
2. There is not the right attitude toward Him that touches Him or moves His compassion.
E. Some of you are here because of your hunger for the Lord, He sees that hunger and is moved with compassion toward you.
F. Some of you have been drawn here today because of a great need in your life, and you are hoping that perhaps the Lord can help you. I can assure you, He will have compassion upon you and you will receive his mercy and grace this day.