Day 1: 

Jesus Moves Toward Us With Compassion


 And He had compassion on them 

- Matthew 14:14

Imagine that you are enjoying a warm sunny day outside in a comfy chair. Some small children are playing nearby in a muddy area gloriously covering themselves with sticky yucky mud. One of them falls on a rock and hurts his knee. He is sobbing with the heart wrenching cries of a frightened hurt child and there is no one else around. What would you do? 

Most of us would run to him, ignore the messy mud and scoop him up in our arms as we try to console him. We wouldn’t be able to help ourselves. Compassion would rise up within us and we’d move to help. 

Compassion, according to the dictionary, is sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering of others coupled with the urgent desire to aid and spare suffering. 

The Greek word translated “filled with compassion” or “took pity” in the New Testament refers to the gut or the intestines. It is emotion that comes from the very depth of one’s being. It gives true meaning to the term “gut wrenching”. 

As we read the gospels, we see Jesus “moved with compassion” over and over as he heals the sick, comforts the bereaved, feeds the hungry, touches the lepers, responds to the helpless crowds, sits with prostitutes and sinners. He was drawn to them, and he couldn’t act any other way. His heart of love filled Him with compassion.

This is the driving compassion of Christ for His people like you and me. We cannot measure His compassion for us in terms of our compassion for each other. His will always be greater. It’s what compelled Him to go all the way to the cross for us and it is what causes Him to move toward our sin and suffering today, not away from it. Jesus sees each of us through His eyes of love and moves toward us with compassion. 

"Beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity. He loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain. Without caution, regret, boundary, limit. NO matter what’s gone down, He can’t stop loving you.”  Brennan Manning from The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. 

For reflection:

1.  Think of a time you were moved with compassion for someone who was suffering. How did you feel? How did you respond? What were the limitations you experienced in your response?

2.  Now think of a time you needed compassion from someone. In what ways did you see Jesus reach out to show His love to you? How did you feel? How did you respond?

Day 2:

Spiritual Practice


Today I invite you to participate in the spiritual practice of sitting with scripture. Below you’ll find 6 places in the gospels where the Greek word (splagchnizomai) we talked about yesterday is translated “had compassion”.  

Look up each verse and read a few verses before and after to get a picture of what Jesus was seeing that caused His compassion. 

He saw the crowds and had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14)  

Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:32)

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. (Matthew 20:34)


Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” (Mark 1:41)

He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So, He began teaching them many things. (Mark 6:34)

Make a list of the needs He saw and how he ministered to them. Consider whether His actions would have been cheered or jeered by those around Him at the time. 

Read through each one several times and put yourself in the place of the person with whom Jesus was speaking or serving. How would you have felt? 

End your time in a prayer of gratitude for the compassion Jesus offers to you.

Day 3: 

Do You Know What Hurts Me?


I heard an account of a very loud conversation between two old friends. Each one said, “I love you, old friend.”  One of them asked, “Do you know what hurts me?” “How am I supposed to know what hurts you?” Responded the other. “Then how can you say you love me?” replied the first. 

What an interesting question. Knowing someone so well as to know what things would cause them great pain takes great devotion. The motivation to get that close is intense love. 

We each have a deep need to be loved intimately by one who knows, understands and feels our pain and hurt. Jesus is the one who loves us most and knows our deepest pain best.  

The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35 Jesus wept. This happened at the tomb of His friend Lazarus when Jesus saw Mary weeping in agony over the loss of her brother. Earlier verse 33 says: When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 

The affectionate heart of Jesus is full of compassion for those who need it most. That is you and me. He wants us to be aware of our great need for Him. In our times of pain or suffering, He is never repulsed, and He is always there with His loving embrace to lift our hearts and minister healing for our spirit.  

Several years ago, I heard Brennan Manning speak these words from his book, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. 

“When you read in the Gospels that Jesus was moved with compassion, it is saying that His gut was wrenched, His heart torn open, and the most vulnerable part of His being laid bare. The ground of all being shook, the source of all life trembled, the heart of all love burst open and the unfathomable depths of the relentless tenderness was laid bare.” 

I will never forget hearing these words because God used them to open my heart to the depth of His love for me. I heard them at a time when I was hurting and questioning my own spirituality and calling. I realized Jesus was there to meet me in my mess and as I acknowledged my need for Him, Jesus sat with me and began to mend my crushed spirit. 

In his book, Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortland writes this, "The same Christ who wept at the tomb of Lazarus weeps with us in our lonely despair. The same one who reached out and touched lepers puts His arm around us today when we feel misunderstood and sidelined. The Jesus who reached out and cleansed messy sinners reaches into our souls and answers our half-hearted plea for mercy with the mighty invincible cleansing of one who cannot bear to do otherwise." 

For reflection: 

1.  Imagine Jesus coming to you today, approachable and compassionate, what is your need? Where do you need the touch of the one who loves you most? 

2.  Write your answer in the form of a letter to Jesus. Tell Him about your feelings, your fears and what you need from Him. Proclaim your faith in Him to touch your needs. If you don’t feel you have that faith, ask Him to help your unbelief. 

Day 4:

Spiritual Practice


For today’s devotional you are invited to select and do a practice from the  spiritual practices page. God bless your time with the Lord today.

Spiritual Practices