With Compassion

Mark 5:19-20
Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Jesus had done a great work in this man’s life, so much so that the people who knew about it were afraid of that power that was demonstrated by Jesus.  And though it was certainly an extreme kind of healing, an amazing spectacle with the swine and the stark change now evident in this man, it is that other essential element in Christ’s work that perhaps meant more to this man, for Jesus does not just work powerfully in our lives, but He does so with compassion.  He does so out of love.  He demonstrates great mercy and kindness.  He cares about the people whose lives He’s changed so radically.

It was not begrudgingly that Jesus ministered to the sick and demon-possessed people around Him.  It was not with an edge of resentment that He worked in the lives of broken and hurting people.  It was not a cold and unfeeling demonstration of His own glory.  His work was full of compassion.  And perhaps, in some ways, that is what hurting hearts crave for more than power and majesty is to be shown compassion in the midst of their suffering.  And so it is not just about what Jesus did, but how He did it—with a heart and attitude that mattered so much to suffering souls.

So when Jesus sends this man out, now whole and well, to witness and testify for Him, He tells the man to share the great things that were done and the compassion that He showed.  He was to let others know there was mercy for them, too.  He was to demonstrate to others the profound impact that Jesus can have on us, no matter our situation.  And certainly his story had an effect on all those he told.

Jesus also sends us out to be witnesses for Him.  He sends us to minister to those around us.  So may we do so with the tenderness and compassion that was a hallmark of Jesus’ own ministry.  May we be willing to treat people with kindness and be patient and give love to whoever we may come across.  So often it seems like those things are lacking in our world today, and they matter so much.  And as we share with others about the amazing and powerful ways God has worked in our lives, let’s not leave out that essential ingredient of compassion that made the work of Christ so meaningful to all those who experienced His gentle touch.