Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.
—John 11:32–25 (NIV)
I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.
—Mark 8:2–3 (NIV)
Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
—Matthew 9:35–38 (NIV)
As we take time to focus on Christ, it’s hard to miss the deep compassion Jesus shows in His life and ministry. In John 11 and Matthew 9, we see His compassion extending to both individuals and crowds, to both physical issues and spiritual ones, and to both heavy issues and ordinary ones. In John 11, Christ’s compassion is displayed in one of the most famous moments in the New Testament. Lazarus’ sisters are under a double grief—their brother has died, and the one friend who could have helped never showed up when they sent word for Him. Though Jesus had a reason for arriving a few days late, His perfect reasoning did not hinder His compassion for these women in their grief. One of his dear friends had died, and as He witnessed the horror of the fall, Jesus stood by Mary in an emotional moment, and wept alongside her. Here we see that Christ has the compassion to mourn with us in sorrowful moments, even when He has plan. He hates that the world is under a curse just as much as we do, and He aches with us for the renewal of the world, when we get to experience relief of all pain and suffering. Thank God for John 11, the picture of Christ’s compassion on us in our heaviest sorrows.
Mark 8 also highlights Jesus’ compassion in another physical issue, though it’s not as heavy as death. He shows His tenderness toward something as ordinary as human hunger at mealtimes! A crowd had been following Him around with empty bellies for three days so they can hear His teaching and experience His miracles. He noticed their need for food and knew they’d “collapse on the way” back to their homes if He didn’t intervene with nourishment for their bodies. In His compassion, He performs one of His most famous miracles, the feeding of the four thousand. How comforting to know that Jesus shows compassion in our ordinary moments of need as well as our heavy ones!
Lastly, Mark 9 shows us Christ’s compassion on our spiritual needs. Instead of leaving us “harassed and helpless” in our sin, Jesus instructs the disciples to pray that God would send laborers out to spread the news of the gospel, so people can live free instead! What a great Savior we serve—One who has compassion on every situation we face!
Questions for Thought //
1. Remind yourself of Jesus’ compassion. In what season or experience in your life has He poured out His compassion and helped you in a time of need?
2. Which of these do you struggle to believe most? Jesus has compassion on me as an individual, me as a part of the church, my ordinary issues, my heavy issues, my spiritual needs, or my physical needs. Take some time to invite Christ into this struggle right now.