Compassion is an attitude of care and concern, grounded in pity and sympathy towards others, given to us by Jesus. Our compassion towards others should reflect the compassion of God for his people.
In the Greek, σπλαγχνίζομαι it means to be moved in the inward parts, i.e. to feel compassion. It is said of Jesus that:
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
This is a great summary from C. H. Spurgeon.
“THIS is said of Jesus several times in the New Testament. The original word is a very remarkable one. It is not found in classic Greek. It is not found in the Septuagint. The fact is, it was a word coined by the evangelists themselves. They did not find one in the whole Greek language that suited their purpose, and therefore they had to make one.
It is expressive of the deepest emotion; a striving of the bowels — a yearning of the innermost nature with pity. As the dictionaries tell us — Ex intimis visceribus misericordia commoveor. I suppose that when our Saviour looked upon certain sights, those who watched him closely perceived that his internal agitation was very great, his emotions were very deep, and then his face betrayed it, his eyes gushed like founts with tears, and you saw that his big heart was ready to burst with pity for the sorrow upon which his eyes were gazing. He was moved with compassion. His whole nature was agitated with commiseration for the sufferers before him.”
Compassion is a vital requirement in the followers of Jesus character As a follower of Jesus, compassion is vital for me. It is all about love. Do I care? Am I concerned? Do I have sympathy? These are all emotions of love. Compassion is about being kind.
- Ephesians 4:32 (NASB) — Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in the Messiah also has forgiven you.
- I have been chosen. God has expectations for me. I am set apart for a mission. In my heart I need to feel compassion. Compassion is a strong emotion.
- Colossians 3:12 (NASB) — So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- I have been comforted.
- Having received comfort, I need to show it to others.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3–5 (NASB) — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of the Messiah are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through the Messiah.
- 1 Peter 3:8 (NASB) — To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.
- Peter knows how sympathetic our Master is.
- Peter experienced it first hand. He knows how to sum it up.