Jesus’ sorrow and compassion spring from His observation of the effects of man’s fall. As believers we must imitate the emotional life of Jesus and his sorrowful compassion. The only way that we can be like Jesus is to cultivate our own relationship with Christ.
We have surveyed the emotional life of Jesus. And for these next two messages, my plan is to cover two of the emotions of Jesus tonight, and God willing, tomorrow afternoon, two additional emotions of Jesus. And men, what I believe we’re going to find is that the emotional life of Jesus has everything to do with theology.
Some of us brothers were just talking here a common conversation about some churches that are very theological, but not very practical; not very given to outreach. Other churches are more given to outreach, but not very theologically deep. As I’ve studied this subject, I find that the emotions of Jesus have everything to do with theology.
Let me show you what I mean. In particular, the emotions of Jesus have everything to do with biblical theology. Now you know that biblical theology has to do with the chronological unfolding of God’s plan of redemption through history. And the emotions of Jesus have everything to do with the great plan of God the Father for the ages. His plan and purpose to create; His plan to allow the fall into sin; and His plan to bring about a wonderful and complete redemption in His Son, Jesus Christ. How are emotions – something very practical – related to this grand scheme of Biblical theology.
Well, let me make several statements. And then in this message and the following message I hope to demonstrate the truth of these statements. Jesus’ sorrow and compassion spring from His observations of the effects of man’s fall into sin. His sorrow and compassion are born of his observation of the effects of man’s fall into sin. What is, in light of what was. Tomorrow, we’re going to see that Jesus’ anger springs largely from His recognition of the source of man’s fall into sin – Satan and sin – why it is. And the joy of Jesus springs from His contemplation and anticipation of the solution to man’s fall that He came to bring – namely, what will be. In this message, I want to deal with the sorrow and the compassion of Jesus. And as I studied these two, I found that they were very much connected and so I’m going to connect them and call it the sorrowful compassion of Jesus. Why? Because I found that the things that brought sorrow to the heart of our Lord, were the very things that called forth His heart of compassion.
Now, when we think of sorrow, we know what that is. That’s grief; that’s sadness. The biblical idea of compassion – when the Bible uses the word, one Greek word “moved with compassion,” it actually has to do with the bowels. The Greek idea has to do with the intestines. The Greek’s associated the really fervent, strong emotions with the intestines, with the bowels. And that makes sense, doesn’t it? Even in the way we talk. We talk about a visceral response. Some things so move us that they make us sick to our stomach. We get nauseated. Or sometimes we talk about having butterflies in our stomach. Things affect us in our digestive tract. And to be moved with compassion is to be moved in the bowels.
So we want to begin by considering the emotions of sorrow and compassion in Jesus. And the one thing that we note as we study this, is the very objects of His compassion. What was it that drew forth the sorrowful compassion of Jesus? First, we note that Jesus’ sorrowful compassion was for physical misery. When He encountered hunger, sickness, and disease He was moved with compassion. In Matthew 15, “Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, ‘I feel compassion for the people, because they’ve remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry.'” And of course, then, He fed them. So He felt compassion. They’d stayed with Him. He was teaching them. He was alert to the fact that they were hungry. And He felt compassion for them in their hunger. As I suppose I should feel compassion for you. As you’re hungry and cold, waiting here listening to this message. But I’m going to be heartless and just continue on without compassion.
Matthew 14, “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” In Matthew 20, and I’ve got to read this one, because – I don’t know about you, but this is one of the most poignant, moving scenarios I find in all the Gospels. In Matthew 20:29-34, I’m just going to take a moment and read that. “As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road hearing that Jesus was passing by cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us! Son of David!’ The crowd sternly told them to be quiet. But they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And Jesus stopped and called them and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.”
Get the picture. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. Do you think He’s got some things on His mind? There’s a whole entourage of people following Him. He’s approaching the apex of His redemptive work on earth when He will suffer in agony in the garden, give Himself up on the cross for the sins of God’s elect for all time. And here are two blind nobodies, marginalized beggars, in the gutter, can’t even see Him, but hear Him coming, and cry out for mercy. And the Son of God, to the chagrin of His entourage, stops dead in His tracks and He pays attention to two blind nobody, marginalized beggars. And moved with compassion, He heals them. Oh, that’s so glorious.
In Mark 1:40-41, “A leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, saying, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched Him and said to Him, ‘I am willing.'” I am willing. Be cleansed. Matthew 8 – A centurion’s paralyzed servant. “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented. Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.'” What impressed me as I worked through the Gospels, was the eagerness of Jesus to heal and to help. He wasn’t reluctant. Well, yeah, I guess I’ve got some time. I guess I can fit that in. Do you see? I am willing. I will come and heal him. You see the eagerness of Jesus. No reluctance.
In Matthew 9, there’s the hemorrhaging woman. If only I touch His garment, I will get well. Daughter, take courage, your faith has made you well. In Matthew 12, a man was there whose hand was withered. “Then He said to the man, ‘stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and it was restored to normal like the other.” And large crowds, Matthew 15, came to Him, bringing with them lame, crippled, blind, mute and many others, and they laid them down at His feet, and He healed them. Other occasions, Jesus moved with pity, with compassion for the hungry, for the sick, for the diseased. Jesus also had sorrowful compassion for mental and emotional anguish. Luke 7, and I’ll read that too. V. 11-14 Luke 7:11-14 “Soon afterwards, He went to a city called Nain and His disciples were going along with Him accompanied by a large crowd. Now, as He approached the gate of the city a dead man was being carried out. The only son of his mother. And she was a widow. And a sizable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her. And He said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ And He came up and touched the coffin and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, ‘young man, I say to you arise.’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak.” Moved not so much for physical misery but for the mental anguish of this now bereft widow.
And by the way, that’s what widow means in the Greek – one who is bereft. It’s someone who has no one to care for her. She didn’t have a husband. Now her only son is dead. How’s she going to fend for herself? How’s she going to make it? Jesus, moved with compassion, raises him from the dead.
And then, of course, in John 11. I’ll turn to that passage as well. Jesus comes to Bethany after Lazarus has died. We are told in 11:3 that He is told, “He whom You love is sick.” And then in v. 5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” The compassion of Jesus flows from the love of Jesus. He first comes to Martha, of “Martha, Martha,” fame. And He interacts with her. But then He gets to Mary. And you remember that Mary was the one – He loved them both, He loved them all. He had to chide Martha, “Martha, Martha, you’re worried and bothered about so many things.” But Mary must have held a special place in His heart, because she sat at His feet.
And then we read in John 11, beginning in v. 30, “Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him and fell at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if you’d been here my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled. And He said, ‘where have you laid him?’ (He’s going to fix it.) They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ And Jesus wept.” Martha was one thing, but when He saw Mary, the one who had sat at His feet, it just broke Him. And He wept with compassion. And then Jesus had sorrowful compassion for spiritual misery.
Remember in Matthew 9:36. “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited, like sheep without a shepherd.” Who were their pastors? The Pharisees. What kind of pastors were they? Self-centered, proud, self-righteous oppressors. They weren’t shepherds. And Jesus saw these sheep without a shepherd, and it says He was distressed. That word literally means skinned, flayed, troubled, annoyed. They were dispirited. That means literally thrown to the ground, prostrate. It’s the picture of deserted, neglected sheep. People who have no shepherd. They’re unfed. They’re uncared for. They’re exposed to all kinds of dangers, elements, wolves. They’re untaught, unfed, uncared for. And the great heart of the good and great Shepherd was moved with compassion for these compassionless sheep.
He was also moved with sorrowful compassion for the spiritually lost. And probably the strongest record of that is in Luke 19. We saw, I think, earlier that with the rich, young ruler – when the rich, young ruler walked away, Jesus let him go. He wasn’t going to lower the terms. There’s only one set of terms for discipleship. There’s no plan B. There’s no “well, take Me as Savior now, we’ll negotiate Lord later.” No. It’s Savior and Lord or nothing. But it says He looked at him and He felt love for him. But He had to watch him go away. And so we see His love for a lost sinner there. But surely Luke 19 is the most poignant, beginning at v. 41, “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘if you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace. But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.'”
And the word here is different from the word in John 11. In John 11, it’s dakruo, and it means to weep silently. Here it’s klaio, which means to cry like a child. He just wailed openly for the lost people that would not come to Him and be gathered. And so Jesus’ sorrowful compassion for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual misery. But I want us to see next the actions born from His sorrowful compassion. He felt this deep compassion, but it was not a compassion in word only. Jesus didn’t merely say, I feel your pain. Rather, His feelings of sorrow compelled Him to act to relieve the suffering.
I like what Pastor Al Martin says in one of his messages, “Jesus never sat in a hot tub of internal emotions, but let it become the steam to drive the wheels of appropriate action.” Isn’t that good? I’ll read it again: “[He] never sat in a hot tub of internal emotions, but let it become the steam to drive the wheels of appropriate action.” And if you review all of those cases where He felt compassion, He didn’t just say I feel your pain; He didn’t just say to the hungry, go be warmed and filled – He fed them – albeit miraculously. He didn’t just say I feel your pain blind people, crippled people, deaf people. He opened their blind eyes. He loosened their tongues. He healed the crippled limbs. He cleaned the leprosy. He did something about it. And with the widow’s only son, He raised him from the dead. And at the tomb of Lazarus, He not only wept, but He went to that tomb and we’ll see later – tomorrow – He went with rage. There’s the other word there, we’ll deal with tomorrow. There wasn’t only deep sorrow, there was anger. Anger at the death that had taken the life of His friend. And He said, “Lazarus, come forth.” He did something about it.
Octavius Winslow says of the sigh of Jesus that led Him to heal the deaf and dumb man, “it was a sigh of practical benevolence. I have remarked upon the hollow, vapid nature of human pity and compassion. How much of it evaporates in thin air. It is needless. It is heartless. Nay, it is criminal to say, ‘be ye warmed; be ye filled, be ye fed, be ye healed,’ and yet extend not a hand, and stir not a foot to help. Not so was the emotion of Christ. His was a real, tangible, practical principle. It was always connected with some sorrow comforted, some want supplied, some burden unclasped, some help needed, some blessing bestowed. Oh, we deal with Christ with compassion and sympathy, robed with the beautiful garment of real, practical charity.” Jesus felt deeply and He acted upon it.
So we see the emotion of compassion. We see the action born of it. But then, know with me, the motivation behind the sorrowful compassion of Jesus. What moved Him to this sorrowful compassion? As I put it at the outset, let me repeat, Jesus’ sorrowful compassion sprang from His observation of the effects of man’s fall. What is in light of what was.
And brothers, we have some notable illustrations of that in our recent history. We have been – your own state of Texas here in Houston – hit by Hurricane Harvey. And then Florida and the Caribbean hit by Hurricane Irma. Puerto Rico – some of your relatives there slammed by Hurricane Maria, up to category 4’s. Mexico City hit with 6.1, 7.1, 8.1 on the Richter Scale earthquakes. The fires that have devastated the forests of Northern California. 2,000 homes destroyed. Imagine what, for some people, they don’t have to imagine – returning to your town after you’ve had to vacate to another city or state, after a category 4 hurricane, and you come back and what do you find? You find the topography has changed in some places where there’s mud and the roads aren’t even visible. Trees are knocked down. One person from the Caribbean said it’s like being on the moon. There are no trees. Telephone poles are knocked over. You come to what was your comfortable home and the roof has blown away, and the walls are caved in, and a tree has fallen upon your car and crushed it. And you say, yeah, I think it’s our home. Yeah, that’s our sofa. And there’s our kitchen table. And there’s a baby’s toy. It’s our home, but it’s not what it was. It is a ravaged ruin. It’s a wrecked remnant of what was.
Well, brothers, this is a faint picture of what it was like for Jesus coming to earth. These people are traumatized by the effect – the ravages – of the hurricane. Well, Jesus was the co-creator of the world with His Father, wasn’t He. It says all things came into being by Him, and without Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. The original creation was pristine and pure. It was a paradise. It was a realm of righteousness. There was no sorrow, no tears, no grieving, no harm, no death. But the fall of man changed all that. And now Jesus is coming and witnessing first hand a creation that is marred by sin. There’s sickness and disease and blindness and deafness and paralysis. Oppression by the god of this world and his demons. The forces of nature, yes, under His permission ultimately, but being used by the devil. Destructive winds and storms and earthquakes and fires ravaging the physical landscape. And there’s wickedness in the hearts of the children of disobedience. Their hearts are continually belching forth evil thoughts and fornication’s and thefts and murders and adulteries and deceit and sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness – to quote Jesus. And the Son of God coming from the pristine realm of His Father’s Heaven where only righteousness reigns, where everything is pure and perfect, is hit in the face with the wreckage and the ravages of the effects of man’s sin. And the response is He’s filled with grief and compassion.
And so, the sorrowful compassion of Jesus is the result, isn’t it, of Him observing the effects of the fall. (Incomplete thought) What is, in light of what was. But brothers, before I make application of the sorrowful compassion of Jesus to us, I need to point us to what was the greatest experience of Jesus’ sorrow that gave rise to the greatest display of His compassion.
As you know, He is called the Man of Sorrows. Tell me where that comes from. Isaiah 53. And to understand what was the greatest source of grief and heartache and sorrow to our Lord Jesus, we need to look at that passage. And I’m just going to read Isaiah 53:3-6. “He was despised and forsaken of men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely, our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried. We ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourging, we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Here was the greatest source of our Lord’s sorrow. This is why He got the label Man of Sorrows.
And what caused His sorrow? It was that He was the suffering servant of Jehovah. He was the sin-bearer. Why was He suffering that sorrow? To bring physical healing to us? Yes. The New Testament quotes this in connection with physical healing. And ultimately, all of our bodies will be physically healed. But His sorrow was mainly to bear our iniquities, our transgressions. He suffered that sorrow so that we would not have to suffer an eternity of sorrow away from the presence of the Lord in a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, which the Bible calls gehenna or hell. That was the deepest source of His grief. There was the anticipation of it, as He anticipated the cross. Now My soul has become troubled. What shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? No, for this purpose I’ve come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name. As He comes to the garden, He is praying very fervently. Luke says His sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground. And the apex of His suffering, which we cannot begin to imagine, is when He cries from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He was the One in Whom the Father was well pleased. He only did what was pleasing to the Father. He had enjoyed fellowship with the Father in all eternity and throughout His ministry on earth. And now, in an inky blackness we cannot begin [to understand]. You’ve been lonely? You’ve had times of loneliness.
Nothing in our imagination can conceive of the loneliness of Jesus. I mean, His friends had fled from Him. His enemies were breathing fire against Him. Now, His Father – His only comfort – was turning away in revulsion. Why? Because my sins and your sins, if you’re a believer, we’re being heaped upon Him. It was intense sorrow born of His greatest compassion for sinners. Brothers, let me turn now, and make application of the sorrowful compassion of Jesus. Because I trust you’re convinced we’re called to be like Jesus in His emotional life. Right? Are you convinced of that? He is our pattern in all things, including emotions. We want to feel as Jesus felt.
So, how do we apply this? First of all, if you are an unbeliever in Jesus – some of you kids, some of you children, listen to me. Have you not put your trust in Jesus yet? Do you see what Jesus went through to pay for sins like yours? Do you see the deep sorrow that Jesus went through; the deep sadness that Jesus suffered, so that you could be forgiven? So that you could live with God now and have God as your God now and Jesus as your Savior to take away your sins? So that when you die, you can go live with God in heaven?
Children and all adults, we have two choices. The choice is either, we endure sorrow forever in a place of torment in hell, and once you go to hell, you never get out. I was taught as a Catholic there’s a middle ground place where your sins are purged. That’s a lie. There’s only heaven and hell. And once you die, you’re fixed. And if you go to that place, you will suffer sorrow forever. Either you do that, or you let Jesus take your sorrow and take your sins by putting your trust in Him. And saying Jesus, I am a sinner. I do bad things. I don’t obey mom and dad all the time as I should. I hurt and hate my brother and sister sometimes. And I have feelings inside me that I know are not good and they’re not pleasing to You. Jesus, I do wrong. I’m a sinner. But I can’t change. Jesus, forgive me. And Jesus, change me. And then, all your sorrow and all your suffering will be taken by Him. He will become your Father and your Savior. He will forgive you. You will become His child. And when you die, whether now, whether you’re young or whether you’re old, you’ll live with Jesus forever in Heaven. If you’re a believer, as most of us are, please understand that the same Jesus Who walked on earth with that heart of compassion is the Jesus in Heaven with that same heart of compassion.
And remember how He looked upon those shepherdless sheep? And He was moved with compassion? They don’t have a shepherd! And the great heart of our Chief Shepherd said pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers. If you’re a Christian, but you’re not in a flock of God’s people, and you have not joined a church where you have put yourself under God-sent, God-equipped, God-called shepherds, pastors… Jesus’ heart is out towards you with compassion. He wants you to be in a flock of God’s people, under shepherds who will care for you. That was His heart then when there were shepherdless sheep.
And if you’re a shepherdless sheep now, that’s His heart for you now. You see, it’s a fair question to ask any Christian, what pastors are responsible for your soul? You say, well, Jesus is my shepherd. I hope so. But Jesus has appointed under-shepherds to care for you, and Hebrews 13:17 says obey your leaders, submit to them. They keep watch over your soul. And if you can’t answer that question and say “pastor so-and-so,” “pastors so-and-so,” “elder so-and-so,” then you need to get into a flock of God’s people, put yourself under worthy, God-sent shepherds. Jesus wants you to do that. We know it’s His will. It was His will then. It’s His will for you now. My fellow believer, if you’re suffering from sickness and disease, or some handicap, or some grievous loss, know that the great heart of your compassionate Savior feels with you and wants to be the God of all comfort to you. And notice that He wants to not only feel with you, but He wants to give you the comfort that only He can give. You know, we try to comfort one another. We encourage one another. But only Jesus can comfort us deep down in those hurts and those losses.
If you’re a believer who’s facing strong temptation – and which of us is not? – What do we learn from Hebrews 4? That we have a Savior Who can sympathize with us. I’ll read Hebrews 4:15. He’s the same Savior then as He is now. The Savior about Whom it says, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is not only there to give you sympathy and compassion, but to give you real help. And to deliver you from that temptation and to keep you from falling into it. So again, receive and embrace the compassion of Jesus extended to you. But not only do we need to receive His compassion toward us, but as He is our example in the emotional life, we need to imitate the emotional life of Jesus here. We need to imitate His sorrowful compassion.
Men, we are dealing here with the more tender emotions, aren’t we? Compassion. Sensitivity. The ability to weep with sorrow over the effects of the fall. Let me ask you, does this tender compassion have a place in your profile of manhood? Does it have a place there? Or, in your mind, is that effeminate stuff? Real men are tough. Real men don’t feel compassion. Real men aren’t tender. Real men don’t cry. The real Man – the God-man cried. He wept quietly. He wailed out loud in public so other people could see. And so is that part of your profile of manhood? Or do you have some macho idea of manhood that’s drawn not from Jesus, but from the world? And if so, I call you to put to death by crucifixion that macho view of manhood under the gaze of the one true Man Who alone tells us what a true man is. And Jesus wept. And Jesus was moved with compassion.
And Jesus had a tender heart for those who suffer. Do you look at physical suffering with sorrow and compassion? And are you moved to relieve it in practical ways? Do you look at mental and emotional anguish with sorrow and compassion? Are you moved to come alongside to comfort? Are you concerned as Jesus was for shepherdless sheep? When you see Christians that aren’t being shepherded and cared for; they’re not in a good church. They’re not under godly pastors and shepherds. Do you care about them? You say, well, that’s the pastor’s job. Well, yeah, it is the pastor’s job, but it’s your job as well. To be concerned and to help bring these people into your flock because you’re in the church because it’s a good church. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be there, right? And you’ve got good pastors. Are you out looking for others who aren’t shepherded? And bring those unshepherded sheep in under the care of your godly pastors and in the safety of your flock? We need to have the same compassion of Jesus for unshepherded sheep.
And of course, we need to grow in our compassion for the lost. Right? We read Romans 9. And we read how Paul would rather be accursed for the sake of his brethren, and we say, man, I don’t get that. I’m not there yet. But we want to be moving in that direction and we want to have hearts that are broken and grieved over the lost around us and that weep inwardly if not outwardly for those who are lost. And then, take measures to do something about it by telling them the Gospel. Jesus didn’t just weep over them, He presented Himself and offered Himself as the Good Shepherd. Some came and some would not. And we need to offer the Good Shepherd. Some will refuse, but some will come. Don’t stop sowing the seed very broadly. Well, again these are the tender emotions, men. How are you doing with these as a man or as a boy? Are you not ashamed to cry out loud or the weep silently even in public? It may be that you need more of the sorrowful compassion of your Lord Jesus.
Now you may need more of His anger. We’re going to deal with that tomorrow. Perfect symmetry in Jesus. We’re going to get to that. But right now, we’re on the compassion of Jesus. Do you need more of the sorrowful compassion of the Lord Jesus? More tenderness? It will help you as a husband. You’re called to live in an understanding way. 1 Peter 3:7 kata gnosin – according to knowledge with your wife. Men, are you aware that your wife is not nearly as impressed with your biceps and your broad shoulders and your six-pack abs, if anybody has them, as you are with her feminine curves. I mean, that’s marriage 101. Do you know that? Do you get that? I’ve been working out for my whole married life and before to keep my body hard. Now, at this age, it’s just maintenance. I’m not gaining anything. I don’t think there’s once in 35 years that my wife has said, boy, I like those biceps. Boy, I like those abs. I think she appreciates the fact that I’m keeping in shape. She wants to keep me around. She wants to keep me alive. But sometimes it frustrates me. Like I work out. Honey, don’t you appreciate that? But what does she want? What turns her on is not your Greek god body, it’s your tender heart.
And if it’s not going so good in the bedroom, men, I speak discreetly for the mixed audience, that’s the first place to ask. How am I treating her? Am I being tender and sensitive? It begins at the breakfast table. Not in the bedroom at night, right? So, I tell you, to help your marriage to have more of the compassion of Jesus.
It will help you as a father as well. You are told not to provoke your children to anger. Colossians says don’t exasperate them. I work to evangelize the Amish, and I’ve done that for twelve years. Right now, on Monday nights, I’m in a study – a DVD series – I’m not showing it, but it’s on the quest for authentic manhood. The last two years, we have gotten over a hundred Amish men to show up for this thing. And they’re getting the Gospel. And I’m privileged to lead a little small discussion group. We break into groups after showing it. And you know what? Those Amish young men are starved for their father’s attention. A typical phrase is, “My dad is there, but he’s not there.” The Amish are great role models when it comes to work. They are workaholics. Your barn burns down, they’ll rebuild it in three days. And they’re good at apprenticing. But they are so unconnected to their sons. And that’s why a hundred Amish men are coming out to learn what is a true man. Because they haven’t learned it from their father. They learn how to work. But they don’t know how to live. They don’t know how to relate, because their fathers are so emotionally disconnected from them. And some of them are provoked to anger. And others are exasperated. The wind has been taken out of their sails.
And for you and I to become a more compassionate man as Jesus, I believe it will help you as a father relating to your sons. So men, let us look to grow in our heart of compassion for the hurts we see around us – to weep inwardly and at times outwardly; to learn to manifest what we feel outwardly as Jesus did.
How is this going to come about? Again, men, in all of this, there is no silver bullet. There is no formula. It’s again the usual means of grace. As we feed upon the Word of God, take a lot of good looks at Jesus. Don’t stray too far from the Gospels where you’re reading about Jesus and seeing His great heart manifested. I just combed the Gospels looking for the emotions of Jesus, and it had a good impact on me. And the compassion of Jesus is the most oft mentioned emotion. And theologians will tell you that. It is the most frequently mentioned emotion of Jesus. And it just hits you when you see page after page, Jesus being moved, and willingly going out and tending to people’s needs. Moved with compassion. Feed yourself on Jesus. Behold Jesus with a view to becoming like Him.
And then give yourself to prayer. Pray asking God to make you more like His compassionate Son in your emotions. Confess to God your coldness of heart, your unlikeness to your Savior in this area of compassion. Repent of that emotional disobedience. Ask God to give you more of a godly sorrow and compassion for the things that move His heart. Ask Him to break up the stony ground of an uncompassionate heart that you might feel as He feels. Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, again, we marvel at Your beauty. And how we thank You for Your heart of tender compassion. And we thank You for the greatest manifestation of it. That You went through the agony of the cross to bear in Your own body our sins and our sorrows, that we might be spared everlasting sorrow in hell, and know only everlasting happiness. Jesus, help everyone here to receive Your compassionate care for them, but then help us who are Yours to imitate You; to grow into Your likeness in this area of compassion. We pray for Your glory’s sake, and in Your name, Amen.