And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 KJV
When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 NASB
Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. Matthew 15:32 KJV
And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32 NASB
So, Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. Matthew 20:34 KJV
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Matthew 20:34 NASB
We have a limited capacity for compassion and sympathy. All of us have felt overwhelmed at times by the enormity of need and suffering which is all around us. When we are faced with tragedy in our own circles, we may be able to handle the emotional burden of one or two families; but when the numbers begin to increase, we become less sensitive, less empathetic. Our capacities may vary, but ultimately, we find the capacity has its limit.
Likewise, when there is no relief and we move from one tragedy to the next in rapid sequence, when calamities seem to be unending, we suffer emotional “burnout” and need to retreat. Once again, we discover, to our shame, that we are limited creatures. But not so the Lord Jesus, the Man of Sorrows! He never showed burnout or emotional weariness in caring for others. There was no limit to His compassion and care.
As we follow Him in the Gospel accounts, He moves from need to need with calmness and compassion. He never became inured to the suffering. He was never indifferent to the plight of even in the lowest of society: the blind, the lame, the beggar. Each person, regardless of status, received the same tender care and attention. No mass healing services or attention-getting gimmickry marked His actions. He showed His compassion for those who were powerless in Jewish society. The leper was ritually unclean; the Roman was a Gentile; Peter’s mother in law was a woman. All the disenfranchised found a “Friend” in Him.
Even more remarkable is that amidst this unbroken record of compassion for others, He never displays an “I alone” mentality or a sense of self-importance. He moves with humility and grace from scene to scene.
His compassion did not wane whatever the need, however great or dire. But more amazingly, His compassion was not abated by the lack of appreciation from the nation. “He went about doing good, healing all…” is how Peter summarized His service (Acts 10:38). His service was never mechanical or robotic but motivated by genuine love and sympathy for the plight of humanity. His miracles were part of His credentials, but they were never done in an official and cold manner. He was genuinely “moved with compassion.”
But even more amazing, His compassion was not staunched by even the display of man’s cruelty at Calvary. He prays for His executioners, shows compassion for a widowed mother, and lifts a thief, placing him on His shoulders, to carry him home. The “kindness and love of God our Savior toward man” (Titus 3:4) has appeared and been fully manifested in Him.
If the value of an act is related not just to what it accomplished but to the motive and manner in which it was done, what does that say about His miracles and about His self-sacrifice at Calvary?