We would be a wise people indeed, if we would allow the truth of God to not only permeate our racing thoughts but also to saturate our busy lives. Of particular value to us, not only personally but to our world as well, is God’s fathomless compassion for people.
Consider how Jesus’ earthly ministry was characterized by His tender interventions in the lives of needy people. He was in fact demonstrating the heart of His Father in heaven as He taught, healed, forgave and encouraged people who were distraught, disowned, disturbed and despairing. Here in the pivotal turning point of all history was the fulcrum of creation itself in the Person of the Son of God… full of glorious holiness, infinite in wisdom and power, yet weeping and lamenting the spiritual needs of men and women on planet earth.
His disciples were witnesses to His compassion and mercy which changed the desperate straits of people regardless of their gender, age or rank, and they became conveyors of that same compassion as they considered in later years that their own lives were worth giving up for the salvation of people destined for spiritual destruction.
Is it possible that many Christians today have forgotten Jesus’ mission? It was not merely one for social reformation—although such reformation can be the happy byproduct of a people whose hearts are transformed. It was not only a mission of political reorganization—although politics had become an unhappy circus of woeful duplicity and needed a major overhaul. Nor was His mission simply to bring about physical healing and to cast out evil spirits—although He, in His compassion, did these very things. His mission was, “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
What motivated the mission of Jesus? He knew something very important about our future, and what He knew fueled His passion to reach out to the lost in compassion. He knew that lives without Him then, as they are now, were doomed to spiritual destruction, which was a far worse fate than even the most trying of physical, yet temporal, circumstances (see Mark 9:43-48).
So Jesus strove passionately to reach the lost even to the point that He gave His life on the cross so that the spiritually lost could be found and the spiritually blind could be made to see. How much do we pursue these same goals? How often do we share in His sorrow? Do we take to heart the knowledge that hell is the final destination of many of our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members?
As Jesus approached Jerusalem in the week prior to His death, He grieved over the impending desolation of the city, their fate for refusing Him for Who He is. Jesus’ heart ached over the spiritual need of the men, women, boys and girls in that town because they were, “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus’ sorrow over the billions of spiritually lost people today has not diminished nor gone cold. His Spirit is even now moving throughout the world working to bring the lost home to faith in Christ.
If we are earnestly seeking to personally grow in our relationship with God then we must engage this quality about Him: “He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
And as we engage this dear quality of Jesus by reflecting on it, digesting it and ultimately owning it, we should remember that knowing what the future holds for the lost moved Him to compassionately reach out to them. We also have been given a glimpse of the future and must also allow this knowledge to make His passion become our passion.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24). If we have indeed crossed over from death to life, then we should not also allow the holy and tender compassion of our Savior to swell in our hearts and move us to share our hope with others?
In addition to the things for which we pray that are only temporary, since they last only as long as this physical life, we should also add to our prayer list the forever needs of others and intercede on their behalf for the power of God to soften their hearts to the truth of His Gospel.
Take up your post today as a pray-er—an interceder for the spiritual needs of others, and believe that God can tame the wildest lives, break through the hardest of hearts and speak to the most deaf of spiritual ears. Today, don’t hesitate to be a part of that invisible army of men and women who lift up those who are lost.
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 16 ½ years and is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables and Crimson Harvest. He is the pastor of Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.