When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
To have compassion on someone is to have sympathy for them. Jesus was sympathetic to the human condition. Not only that, he could have empathy as well, because he was living the human condition. (Hebrews 2:17) Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, truly sums up the human condition. Sheep without a shepherd are lost and in serious danger. They are incapable of leading and protecting themselves from the dangers of the world around them. So it is with people. Without The Good Shepherd and His guidance people are lost and helpless in a spiritually dangerous place.
If we want to have true compassion for the lost we must do what is best for them. We must lead them to The Shepherd and his guidance. To leave people wallowing in their lostness is not showing compassion for their plight. Many today believe we show compassion for others by supporting them in their immoral and ungodly behaviors. That is not compassion, it’s apathy. It is showing a lack of concern for the spiritual well being if we support them in such behaviors.
We cannot be afraid of offending people with the truth of God’s word. We have to share it, they need to hear it. The problem with sheep is they don’t even know they need a shepherd. So it is with people. They don’t think need someone to the lead them, they are perfectly capable of knowing the best way to go. If that were true, wouldn’t the world be a far better place than it is? No, we all need a shepherd. We all need Jesus and his leadership. We need his forgiveness and his protection. He came to shepherd the sheep.
In his compassion Jesus didn’t want to leave us as we are, he wanted lead us to something far better. As Jesus said; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus came to give life to the fullest. His ways provide that. We need show true compassion, and lead others to The Shepherd, so they too will have life to the fullest.
© 2016 Leo J. Woodman