The Compassion of Christ
I want to call your attention this evening to just one word – compassion. Some time ago I took up the concordance, and ran through the life of Christ to see what it was that moved him to compassion; for we read often in his life, while he was down here, that he was moved with compassion. I was deeply pleased in my own soul as I ran through his life, and found those passages of Scripture that tell us what moved him with compassion. In the 14th chapter of Matthew and 14th verse, we find these words: “And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, and he healed their sick.” He saw the great multitude, and he was moved with compassion, and he healed their sick. And in another place it says that he healed all that had need of it.
He didn’t need anyone to tell him what was in the hearts of the people. When I stand before an audience like this I cannot read your history; but he knew the history of each one. He could read every man’s biography; he knew the whole story. And as he stood before that vast multitude, the heart of the Son of God was moved with compassion; just as in the preceding verses we find him, when John’s disciples had come to him with their sad story, and with broken hearts. Their beloved Master had just been beheaded by the wicked king; they had just buried the headless body, and came to Jesus to tell all their sorrow to him. It was the best thing they could do. No one could sympathize with them as Jesus could; no one had the same compassion with them that Jesus had. In all our troubles, the best thing we can do is to follow in the footsteps of John’s disciples, and tell it all to him. He is a high-priest that can be touched with our infirmities.
In Mark, the 1st chapter and 41st verse, there is a story that brings out the compassion of Christ. There came to him a leper, and when he saw him his heart was moved with compassion. The poor leper was full of leprosy from head to foot. I can just imagine how the leper told his whole story to Christ; and it was the very best thing he could do. He had no friends to be interested for him; he might have had a wife and family, or a loved mother, but they could not be there to plead for him. The law forbid any one speaking to him or touching him; but undoubtedly someone had some day come out and lifted up his voice, and told him that a great prophet had arisen in Israel who could cure him of the leprosy; that he was quite sure that he could do it, because he had performed miracles equal to that, and that he could give him life if he would only ask him.
Let us bring that scene down to our own day. Suppose that anyone in this assembly here tonight should find that he was a leper, and the law required him to leave home. What a scene it must have been when that poor leper left his home, left the wife of his bosom, left his own offspring, with the thought that he never was to see them again! It was worse than death; he had to go into a living sepulcher—to vanish from home, wife, from mother, father, children, friends, and live outside the walls of the city. And while he was out there, if any man should come near him, he had to cry, “Unclean, unclean, unclean!” He had to wear a certain kind of garment, so that all men should know him. You can see him outside the walls of the city. It might happen in the course of years that someone came out and shouted at the top of his voice, and told him that his little child was dying; but he could not go to see his dying child, or comfort his wife in her affliction. There in exile he had to remain, banished from home, while his body was rotting with that terrible disease, with no loved friends to care for him, nothing to do to occupy his time. That was the condition of the poor leper; and when he heard that Jesus could cure him, he went to him and said: “Lord, if thou wilt thou canst cure me; Lord, hear my pitiful story; Lord, have mercy upon me; Lord, save me.” And Jesus was moved with compassion; and he reached out his hand and touched him. The law forbade him doing it, forbade any one touching him; but that great heart was moved, and he touched the man. And the moment he touched him the leprosy was gone; he was healed that very moment. He went home, and told his wife and family what a great blessing had come to him.
Did you ever stop to think that the leprosy of sin is a thousand times worse than that leprosy? All that it could do was to destroy the body. It might eat out the eye; it might eat off the hand; it might eat off the foot – but think of the leprosy of sin! It brought angels from heaven, from the highest heights of glory down, not only into this world, but into the very pit of hell. Satan once lifted on high hallelujahs of heaven; but sin brought him out of heaven down into darkness. Look into the home of the drunkard; look into the home of the libertine; look into the home of the harlot; look into the homes of those who are living in sin! The leprosy of sin is a thousand times worse than the leprosy of the body. But if the poor sinner, all polluted with sin, will come to Christ, and say as this leper did, that we have just read about, “Lord, thou canst have compassion on me: thou canst take away this desire for sin; if thou wilt, thou canst save me,” he will save you tonight. O sinner, you had better come to him; he is the very best friend that you have. It is Jesus that we preach here tonight, the Son of God. He has come to help you; he stands in this assembly, now. We cannot see him with the bodily eye; but we can with the eye of faith; and he will save every sinner who will come to him to-night! My dear friends, will you not come to him and ask him to have mercy and compassion upon you?
~ This is from “The Compassion of Christ” in The Gospel Awakening