Tuesday, April 21

“I can’t stands no more!”

Scripture: 1 Samuel 25-26, Psalm 63, Matthew 9

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Observation

In Matthew 9, Jesus shows compassion for a wide range of people.

  • He heals and forgives a paralyzed man.
  • He calls Matthew, a despised tax collector, to follow Him.
  • He shares dinner with Matthew’s friends, a group of “disreputable sinners.”
  • He raises the dead daughter of a synagogue ruler.
  • He heals a woman of a bleeding disorder that made her unclean.
  • He heals two blind men, no doubt both beggars because of their condition.
  • He frees and heals a demonized man who was unable to speak.
  • He teaches and heals many in a crowd.  “He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Notice these two things:

  1. The amazing diversity of people for whom Jesus cared.  Back to back, we have stories about Matthew and his friends—despised outcasts, considered traitors—and a local synagogue ruler who would have been highly respected.  They were opposite ends of the social respectability spectrum.  There were all kinds of sick people, some beggars, some unclean and ostracized, some demonized, some needing forgiveness more than healing.  Many would have believed that these sick people were being punished by God for their sins, and looked down on them.  From the top of the social order to the very bottom, Jesus welcomed and had compassion on all.  He was incredibly inclusive—especially toward the marginalized and outcast.   
  2. Jesus had compassion on them.  The Greek word here comes from a word that means “inward parts, intestines, guts.”  The idea is that you feel something visceral, deep in your gut, and that moves you to action.  In the words of that great theologian, Popeye, “That’s all I can stands.  I can’t stands no more.”  Then he pops out the spinach and goes to work!  Jesus was “deeply moved with compassion.”  He couldn’t stands no more—and went to work.  And He  calls us to the same, starting with prayer.   

Application

I am grateful to be the recipient of Jesus’ compassion.  I am needy, and welcome His touch!  Today, I’ll bring my needs, my weakness to Him in prayer, just as all these people did, and receive His compassionate help.

And I want to be like Jesus, and care deeply for others.  I want not only to receive His compassion, but to give it to others.  So I’ll pray—again—for God to move me, for that feeling deep in my gut that won’t let me be still, that moves me to action.  “I can’t stands no more.”

Prayer: Thank you Lord for showing compassion to me.  Now, fill me with Your compassion and help me show it to others.  Move me!