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“...I'll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I'll tell the world what I find...” Psalm 119:45-46 (The Message)
 STUDY #3 OF 10 FEBRUARY, 2004 
"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."
When many Christians even hear the word "evangelism", they immediately curl up like a pill bug, petrified that their pastor is going to make them go hand out tracks at the 7 Eleven or preach with a bullhorn in front of the local sports stadium.
Although both of those methods certainly qualify, evangelism as illustrated by Jesus' life is oftentimes a much different picture. Throughout the Gospels, we read story after story of Jesus touching and transforming people's lives. How? Through a lifestyle of compassion that, like a magnet, literally drew people to himself.
What does this rare compassion look like? For Jesus, it was meeting people at their point of need, coming down to their level, and showing them with his actions that he deeply cared.
Note: If you ever want to "dig deeper" into any of the points below, just click the shovel icon.
What does compassion mean? dig deeper »
According to Strong's Dictionary, the word "compassion" in Matthew 9:36, our key passage, comes from the Greek word splagchnizomai, meaning "to have the bowels yearn, i.e. (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity."
This strange, yet intriguing, definition is further clarified in Vine's, which explains that the same word is used in Luke 15:20 to describe the heart of the father when he sees his prodigal son returning home. "But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him" (NKJV).
From this quick glance, it's clear that true compassion is a deep, heart-wrenching yearning to give unconditional love and acceptance to another, whether that person "deserves" it or not. Easy to see how that type of compassion changes lives...Read more
Action Step: Make a point to begin praying daily for Jesus' heart of compassion to be made more evident as you interact with people in your daily life.
What does compassion do? dig deeper »
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him." LUKE 10:33-34 (NKJV)
Compassion is not a passive pursuit. It's an active, servant-hearted, "nothing's below me", mindset. It's stepping in and getting your hands dirty when everyone else is saying, "That's not my concern." It's a rare, sacrificial willingness to lay down your time, energy, and personal comfort to be a part of someone else's story.
When Jesus was "moved with compassion" for people, he didn't merely feel pity for them, throw up a "courtesy prayer", and then walk on by — he acted on the impulse in his heart and did something to meet people's practical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Read more
Action Step: Think of a person who you have a hard time getting along with. Do something thoughtful for him/her within the next seven days — write them an encouraging note, take them out to lunch, or offer to help them out with a project they have going (more ideas).
A Quick Challenge
It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness and stress of life and forget about the people we come in contact with every day — people who desperately need to experience the life-changing compassion of Jesus Christ.
This week, make a point to continually ask yourself a couple simple questions:
  How would Jesus see this person?
  What simple things can I do to show the compassion of Jesus to the people around me?
You'll find that as you make a conscious choice to see people the way Jesus sees them, His compassion will naturally flow out of you into other people. And that's a privilege you don't want to pass up on!
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Click the shovel to dig deeper into each of the 3 key points
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» Dig Deeper
1 What does compassion mean?
Study the original Greek to learn more about what true compassion really is.
2 What does compassion do?
Discover what true compassion look like in action through the story of the Good Samaritan.

» Related Verses
Deuteronomy 30:1-3
Psalm 78:38
Psalm 86:15
Matthew 14:14
Matthew 18:33
Mark 5:19
Hebrews 10:34
1 Peter 3:8-9
» For Group Discussion
How would you define "compassion"?
Read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Talk about the kind of compassion the father showed his son.
Do you feel like you go out of your way to show this kind of compassion to people? Why or why not?
What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back from consistently modeling the compassion of Jesus in your daily life?
Break into groups of two and have each person write down the name of someone they know who needs to see the true compassion of Jesus.
  Then, have them write down the answer to this question:
  What can you personally do to show compassion to that person during the next 7 days?
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The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1995-1996 by Biblesoft. All rights reserved.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. Copyright © 1985 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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