Monday, February 11, 2013

Religious or Compassionate?

Pigs or People (Mark 5: 1-19)
Jesus cast a legion of demons out of a man who lived wild among the tombs, cutting himself, breaking chains, fierce, and threatening all who approached him. The spirits left the man and entered a nearby herd of swine which promptly ran down a steep embankment into the sea and drowned. When the multitude saw the healed man and the dead hogs they were afraid and begged Jesus to depart from their territory. How is it that these people who had endured the fierceness of this demon-possessed man were now so afraid of the holy and compassionate power of God that they begged Jesus to leave? They seemed to have more compassion on the hogs than on the suffering man, and they were more afraid of the power of God than of the demon-controlled man. This exposes the misplaced priorities and twisted perceptions of those who do not have a heart to know God.

The Religious Response (Matthew 12: 7-14)
The Pharisees also showed this same lack of compassion. Their religious spirit caused them to have no sympathy for suffering people. They could not rejoice that a sick person was made well, but in their self-righteousness and pride they could only complain that the healing was done on the Sabbath. They demonstrated the typical characteristics of a religious spirit. They lacked compassion on suffering humanity and ignored the word of God while focusing on the traditions of men. They would rather people suffer than for God to upset their usual routine by healing someone.

The Compassionate Response
The miracles of the New Testament were not just attestations of God’s supernatural presence, but were visible and concrete evidences of our Lord’s compassion, love, and willingness to work intimately in the lives of His people. The people of God must be instruments of God’s compassion and not just preachers of doctrine. Like Jesus we must "teach" and "do." (Acts 1:1)

“The Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9: 35-36

“Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” Mark 5: 19

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