The Compassion of Jesus

What was Jesus moved by during the time he was on the earth and performed his miracles?


There are a lot of people curious about the invisible world and miracles. Including believers. But most people miss the most important fact when it comes to Jesus’ miracles – He was moved by compassion!

People today talk about demons, supernatural phenomena, healings, visions, dreams, prophecies, gold dust and so on. They sell tons of books on these subjects feeding off the curiosity of the masses.

Go ahead and write a book on compassion, let’s see how many you will sell?

Why? Because most people get uncomfortable when they hear about compassion. Why? Because they aren’t sure they know what it is, that they have it and that it’s the most powerful motivating force in their own lives.

In brief, most of us feel convicted.

It’s much easier to reduce Jesus to only a teacher or only a miracle worker. People would even accept that he was moved by compassion giving himself to death on the cross. Because you see, the cross projects weakness, not power.

We’ve been brainwashed to associate compassion with weakness.

But for a strong man or a strong woman to have compassion, not sure about that.

Jesus was a strong man. 100% strong, muscular Jewish carpenter who studied the Torah from the time he was a kid to the time he began to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to demonstrate miracle power.

But most importantly, he was moved by compassion! Not feeling sorry for people! Compassion!

Compassion is a virtue. You can go to the gym and grow muscles on demand. You can study and get good grades in school. You can learn and develop yourself on demand in so many ways.

But compassion isn’t a virtue you can grow like a muscle. It’s something that can only come by confronting our own lack of compassion, our eyes opening to how compassionate God is, and finally, accepting and experiencing His compassion.

We can only give what we have been given. We can only be what we become through the transformative power of Father’s love.

Here are all the verses in the Gospels about compassion (σπλαγχνίζομαι – gr. splagchnizomai). Don’t rush through it. Come back if you need to but read this list of verses slowly.

Amazing 🙏

Mat 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.

Mat 14:14
When he went ashore,fn he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
Mat 15:32
Jesus called his disciples and said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, otherwise they might collapse on the way.”

Mat 18:27
“Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.

Mat 20:34
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed him.

Mar 1:41
Moved with compassion,fn Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he told him. “Be made clean.”

Mar 6:34
When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.

Mar 8:2
“I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat.

Mar 9:22
“And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Luk 7:13
When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said, “Don’t weep.”

Luk 10:33
“But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.

Luk 15:20
So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.

Knowing God and Self-Awareness

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” Shakespeare, “Hamlet,” Act I, Scene III

How can you be true to yourself if you don’t know yourself?

Let’s analyze a situation from the New Testament showing the importance of loving people but not allowing love to blindside you about the reality of who they are as a culture generally.

One of their very own prophets said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason, rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith. Titus 1:12-13

Seems to me Paul made a blanket statement about all the people living on the island of Crete. Sounds pretty harsh, but he explicitly says it’s true. Don’t forget, Paul’s ministry began on the island of Crete. He made a man blind for three days there. Pretty controversial way of brining the Good News to the governor of Crete but that’s what happened. Thankfully Luke didn’t suffer from any of today’s woke sensitivities and recorded the history as it happened. Read the second half of chapter 13 in the Book of Acts for the full story.

This is Paul’s first miracle as an apostle. So he knew first hand something about Crete and the culture that shaped the people there. He knew what their poets had to say about their own people. And he agreed with them that it’s true. His faith didn’t blindside his objective perception of other people and cultures. He knew how to love people and gave his life to bring the Gospel to us clueless goyim (non-Jews). But he wasn’t blind to people’s shortcomings either.

He didn’t tell Titus that the Cretans shouldn’t be evangelized. He didn’t develop a theology of dooming the Cretans to damnation. He just had an objective assessment of where these people are at as a culture.

Paul wasn’t blind to his own shortcomings, or those of his companions. He was on a critical mission. He couldn’t afford to live in a mental fog about himself or others, given his mission.

If our lives are mission critical, can we I afford to live without having a good degree of self-awareness?

I ask this question even though the answer should be obvious. Yet we know that huge number of people don’t have much of self-awareness to speak of.

Science today acknowledges self-awareness as a complex and multifaceted aspect of human cognition and consciousness. Researchers from various fields, including neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science, have been trying to understand better self-awareness. Here are some key insights from current scientific perspectives:

  1. Neuroscience of Self-Awareness: Neuroscientists have identified specific brain regions associated with self-awareness, such as the prefrontal cortex. Studies using brain imaging techniques like fMRI and EEG have provided insights into how the brain processes self-referential information and self-perception.
  2. Mirror Neurons: Mirror neurons, a type of brain cell, are believed to play a role in our ability to understand and empathize with others, contributing to our self-awareness by connecting our experiences to those of others.
  3. Theory of Mind: Psychologists study the development of “theory of mind,” which is the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others. It plays a crucial role in our capacity for self-awareness and empathy.
  4. Metacognition: Metacognition refers to the ability to think about one’s thinking, and it is closely linked to self-awareness. Research in this area explores how individuals monitor and regulate their thoughts, emotions, and problem-solving strategies.
  5. Developmental Psychology: Studies in developmental psychology examine when and how self-awareness emerges in children and how it evolves throughout a person’s life.
  6. Disorders of Self-Awareness: Scientific research also investigates disorders of self-awareness, such as anosognosia (a lack of awareness of one’s own disabilities). Understanding these conditions helps shed light on the mechanisms of self-awareness in the brain.

I find all of this fascinating! I don’t have time to demonstrate it here but the findings of modern science actually align well with the information we have from the Bible when it comes to self-knowledge and self-awareness.

Much more can be said but let me wrap this up by summarizing my conclusions after 30+ years of first hand participation in Christian ministry all over the world.

I find the traditional Christian formula “Seek to know God only” as severely lacking. Seeking to know well ourselves should go hand in hand with the imperative of seeking to know God. Not knowing ourselves in a narcissistic way but knowing ourselves in the context of being his creation.

Jesus did say THE GREATEST commandment is to love God. But He also added the second “Love your neighbor as yourself”, and said it’s just as important as the first one!

Notice we are to love our neighbor as our own self. How can you love your own self?

True love to your own self is submitting your own self to the Creator and accepting the place He has for you. Accepting the place of being His creation, his child, with all the blessings and responsibilities it comes with. Only then can we love others well.

Only then can we grasp the full meaning of God’s Truth taught by the Torah (The Law) and the Neviim (The Prophets).

Matthew 22:36-40 (CSB) 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest? ” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 “This is the greatest and most important command. 39 “The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 “All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”