Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

From: Su Min
Subject: Compassion


Dearly Beloved, Grace and peace to you from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN!


Today we look at Matthew_14:13-14

And when Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.


The gospel is so alive each time I read it.

The verbs in this passage describe a dynamic set of action occurring. Line up the action words and see the main thrust of this passage:


And when Jesus heard of it...

"It" was the news about the execution of John the Baptist that triggered off the move of Jesus to relative security. With the news came the knowledge that the noose was tightening. Herod Antipas was out to eliminate Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees would be glad to see Jesus gone. The preparation of the disciples was far from complete. The time would come when this small band would have to stand alone. But that time had not come yet.


He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: Jesus had been ministering around Capernaum, a relatively populated area. With news of danger, Jesus got into a boat and headed off across the waters to a more quiet place, far from the madding crowd, where He could rest and meditate and commune with His Father. With a less populated area, there was less likelihood of details of His activities filtering back so fast to Herod. A remote desolated place would be a suitable site to retreat, recuperate and rebuild.


and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities...

There was to be no rest. The people knew of the ministry provided by Jesus. They flocked to Him. They followed Him. Perhaps some were just curious. Perhaps some were just bored. Some were sick in spirit and or in body. Some were hungry for His teaching. Some enjoyed his company. Perhaps some were there just to spy on Him.

Many people for many reasons were looking for Jesus. The multitudes did not at first notice Him missing from their midst at Capernaum. Then someone must have reported to the crowd that Jesus had departed privately by boat ship across the sea of Galilee to a solitary remote place on the other side: and when the people had heard about this move, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

Notice the mode of transport: Jesus travelled by boat across the water. The multitude travel by foot. A tangent across the lake by boat must be a shorter, quicker and easier route: but the multitude is without means: no camel, no horse, no carriage, no sedan chair: they travel on foot, pouring out of the villages and towns in their great numbers, streaming into the wilderness, to follow Jesus.


And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them,

Jesus is aware that the crowds have traced Him and followed Him all the way on foot to this solitary place. They must have travelled many many hours, many many kilometres. He does not hide from them but comes out to meet them. Jesus sees their need. Their desire to see Him is great. Their need of His ministry is great.


Compassion. Strong's Concordance #4697. The Greek word is "Splagchnizomai", pronounced something like "splangkh-nid-zom-ahee". (Any Greek scholars out there?): it means to have the bowels yearn, to feel within your spleen, to have sympathy, to pity, to be moved with compassion.

Jesus saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them. Our Lord's feelings for the harassed and helpless, the sick and the demon possessed, the needy, reached deep down inside His very bowels, He pitied them, He was moved with deep emotion for them, His innards churned and yearned to relieve their distress.


and he healed their sick...

Jesus not only had compassion, feelings of emotion for them, but he translated this into practical help for the crowd. He moved into their midst and ministered to them. He met them at their point of need. He healed them.


And for you, dearly beloved? You have been following Jesus. Will you share your needs with Jesus? Will you lay down your burdens at His feet? Depressed? Lonely? Angry? Lost? Spiritually empty? Hungering and thirsting for righteousness? He cares for you. He has compassion for you. Jesus WILL meet you at your very point of need.


And Beloved, having been ministered to, having received the healing touch from Jesus, having been restored and made whole: what will you do with your new born-again life?

Will you not hear the cries of the oppressed, the alien, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the sick, the poor, the old, the shut in? Will you not feel compassion for them, the inner yearning that fills your insides with a churning and a passion to care for them?

Too great the needs? Too many to serve? You may not be able to serve the whole world, but surely you could begin with one neighbour?


Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed" but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (James_2:15-16)


For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min

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