The Matchless Compassion of Christ
When we are hurting deeply, we need to be reminded of the heart of God.
God’s heart for his hurting children.
In these times when our stomach is sick, our mind is confused, and our fear is crippling, it is in these times that we need to be reminded that God’s heart is filled with deep compassion for his hurting children.
The compassion of God. Think about it for a moment.
When the Scripture speaks of “compassion” it refers to showing mercy, feeling sympathy, having pity on someone. To be compassionate is to have a strong desire to alleviate the suffering of another.
We know that God is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 103)
We know “his compassions never fail; they are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3)
Ultimately, the compassion of God is seen in sending Jesus to earth in order to rescue us and save us from our rebellion and sin.
In Luke 8, we read of an encounter Jesus had with a sick young girl and her dad in which Christ’s compassion is on full display. This is a passage that has brought great comfort to me as I journey with my sick son.
The encounter begins in verses 41-42 of Luke 8 where we read,
“And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling atJesus' feet, he implored (begged) him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.”
Here we meet a man named Jairus. Jairus is a well known, respected, and wealthy man in the community. He is an “official” of the synagogue where the Jews worshipped. He had the responsibility of basically overseeing everything that happened in the local synagogue, similar to what a Senior or Lead Pastor does in a church in our day. But his position was much more prestigious. Being a “ruler of the synagogue” was a major position in this day as Jewish culture in many ways revolved around the synagogue.
But on this day, Jairus did not come to Jesus as a representative of the synagogue. He came as a grief-stricken father whose only daughter, about twelve years old, was dying.
He was no longer concerned about what his fellow leaders in the synagogue or the scribes and Pharisees might think of him. You see, Jairus was aware that Jesus was no ordinary man. He was a miracle worker. And all that mattered to Jairus at this point was getting to Jesus so that his daughter might be healed before it was too late.
Jairus was desperate. He was broken. He was needy. He knows Jesus is his only hope.
All of us will find ourselves here at some point. All of us.
Verse 41 tells us that Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Him to come to his house and the next verse simply concludes with these words: “she was dying.” It is a serious situation. A parent’s worst nightmare. How will Jesus respond?
We are left hanging for a few moments until the story picks back up in verse 49. Jesus has just healed a woman battling an embarrassing and dangerous blood condition when someone from Jairus’ household arrives to share some heartbreaking news.
We read in verse 49, “While he (Jesus) was still speaking, someone from the ruler's (Jairus’) house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more."
At this moment, Jairus receives the news he had dreaded. His worst nightmare has come true. His sweet daughter has died.
Though Luke doesn’t record it, Matthew records in his Gospel that at this point Jairus says to Jesus, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live” (Matthew 9:18).
These words are significant. Unlike the doubtful messenger, Jairus believes that Jesus has the power not only to heal his daughter, but to raise his daughter from the dead. Jairus is a man of faith. Desperate faith.
When Jesus hears the report of the little girl’s death, He answers in verse 50, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well."
Three simple statements:
Do not fear.
She will be well.
Now it is important to point out here, as John Macarthur notes, that “Jesus was not making Jairus’ faith a condition for resurrecting his daughter, but was encouraging and reassuring him. Although Jairus had faith that Jesus could resurrect her, his faith was mingled with fear. The Lord exhorted him to stop being afraid and to keep believing in His promise that his daughter would be made well.”
Jesus is a faithful Lord. A faithful Savior. And He is faithful to His promises.
When he says here in verse 50, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”, you can bank on it.
Maybe you are like me today and need to hear these simple words from Jesus: “Do not fear; only believe.”
You see, Christ keeps His promises. He is always faithful to His promises. He doesn’t lie. Unlike you and I, He is never flaky. He always follow through.
This is why we can trust in His loving compassion toward His children. The promise of God is sure:
“…his compassions never fail; they are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3)
The story continues in verses 51-55…
“And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, "Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.”
With the same power Jesus used to speak creation into existence, He speaks LIFE into this little girl’s lifeless body. Death’s hold on this little girl was shattered and “her spirit returned.” And this wasn’t a progressive thing, it happened instantly.
Let us not miss a very small yet beautiful display of Jesus’ gentle compassion in the second part of verse 55 where we read, “he directed that something should be given her to eat.”
After she was breathing again, He wanted to make sure she had something to eat. Something to fill her hungry belly.
Jesus cares about the tiniest things. This is true in your life and my life as well.
He knows your every need. Your EVERY need.
He knows your pain.
He knows your fear.
And He cares about it all.
Friend, the Lord is compassionate toward you. This is His heart.
Notice how the story concludes in verse 56, “And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.”
This word “amazed” is better understood as “they were blown away” or “they were speechless” or “they stood in awe.”
And rightly so. Wouldn’t you be?
I mean the pain this mom and dad were experiencing in losing their daughter was beyond words. Truly indescribable. And then Jesus brings life back into her dead body. It was an absolute miracle! How could they not want to share their joy with the whole world? How could they not want to tell everyone about what Jesus had done? This is what makes the ending of this passage a bit confusing to us.
Jesus ends verse 56 by charging them not to tell anyone what had happened.
Well, obviously it isn’t because He did not want people to know about the miracle. The news would have been impossible to keep secret since everyone would see the girl who had been dead but was now alive. So why then would Jesus say this?
While Luke doesn’t tell us specifically, we gain insight from the other Gospels. There were times when Jesus simply did not want the news of his miraculous work to spread. You see, just like in our day, there were plenty of people who loved a good show. They wanted to be entertained. And in Jesus’ day there were massive crowds of curiosity seekers that would follow Jesus simply to see “the show”, not because they truly wanted to be his disciples. He wasn’t interested in this.
Jesus knew these folks would potentially hinder His ministry and the things the Father had sent Him to accomplish. They would be a distraction.
Jesus was a man on a mission and nothing was going to get in his way. Part of this mission was to show the world a picture of the heart of God toward the hurting, the suffering and the broken. Luke 8 is a prime example of this.
What we see on full display here in this story is the personal, gracious, undeserved compassion of Jesus.
Whether it is toward Jairus, his wife, his sick little girl, those in the crowd, or you and me, Christ is a compassionate Savior. He is a compassionate Lord.
This is who He is.
What comfort there is in the compassion of Christ!
Especially in the midst of our pain.
In the midst of our questions.
In the midst of our tears.
May we never forget…
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” — Isaiah 54:10