Take a moment to imagine this setting. Crowds on every side, sick people crouching in, afflicted people desiring to be healed, religious people snarling, and the disciples overwhelmed and confused. Meanwhile, Jesus stands at the center gazing upon the multi-dysfunctional audience, feeling something deep within Him. What was He feeling, you might ask? One word: Compassion. As Jesus looked upon the crowds that day, He couldn’t help but feel a sense of compassion toward them. And this type of compassion – this Jesus compassion – is likely different from your definition of the word. The Greek word used here is Splanchnizomai. I know you want to say it out loud. So go ahead and give it a try. “Splanch – niz – omai”. This word, by definition, means to be moved in one’s bowels. It’s the picture of being so broken over a particular situation that it moves you down to your guts. This was what Jesus felt as He “saw the crowds… harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know for certain that I’ve ever felt that level of compassion toward a specific individual or situation. But, hey, that’s why I want to go deeper this year. I don’t want to maintain surface-level compassion that leaves me feeling emotionless and inactive. I want my life, feelings, and emotions to be conformed to the person of Christ, producing a deeper sense of compassion in and through me.
Not much has changed in today’s context from what Jesus saw two thousand years ago – people are still harassed, helpless, and lost. I’m praying that this year the Lord would give me eyes to see people the way He does, and that my seeing would lead to feeling, and that my feeling would lead to doing. Lord, take us deeper into Christ-like compassion.