During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” (Mark 8:1-3 NIV84)
Poor Sally Field, our blog post title today comes from that memorable speech she made at the Oscars in 1984 where she said, "... The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me." Whatever that speech really meant, I think among other things, it sort of hits on an emotional challenge many have, and that is that we really crave to be truly, deeply, cared for, "liked", and loved. We don't want lip service, we don't want to be "stroked", we want to know and feel that someone out there really and truly cares.
I was moved in the Mark passage by Jesus' loving reaction to the physical condition of the people to whom He had been ministering so fervently. Mark explains that He had compassion for the people. Here Jesus, teaching for 3 days, probably exhausted and hungry himself, has the magnitude and fortitude to feel compassion for a people so hungry for a Savior, they are willing to ignore their own hunger; even to the point of possible collapse during their journey home. As only a parent would know, Jesus recognizes their state and wants to feed them.
In Luke 15:20 we see this word compassion used again in yet another familiar story, the Prodigals Son: "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." The story did not say that his Father saw him and waited for him to come to him, it said that he ran to him and threw his arms around him. That's not just a feeling, that's a passion. That's a loving parent who truly deeply cares for the wellbeing of His son.
We again see this property shown in possibly its purest form when Jesus actually weeps for His friend Lazarus who has recently died. John 11:33-36: When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
This English word compassion comes from the Greek word Splagchnizomai (Strong's 4697) and the definition is "to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to moved with compassion". Ok. I'll say it. Gross. I know your saying, wow, this Greek thing is really helpful :) Fact is that the Strong's definition goes on to explain that "the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart".
So, if we put this in our bowl and stir it all together we see a compassion that is a very deeply felt. This is not just a feeling but a passionate reaction to the physical condition of His people, to the sheep of His flock. Like our Father in heaven, like a loving parent, Jesus looks to us in a way only a parent can. As when our own children are running out the door without a coat or when we send our kids off to school, we love them deeply enough to put that coat on them or to give them their bag lunch.
The Psalmist says it well, when he says, "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." (Psalms 36:9 NIV84)
I am personally comforted by all this, as I want to follow a Savior who I know cares about me; who feels deeply for me. I may not know what's around the corner in life, but this I know. That I am following a loving Savior, who cares not only for my soul, but also for my sanity. A parent who loves me and cares for me deeply. A friend who weeps for me. I am in good hands. I am in His hands.
He loves me, He really Loves Me!
In His Grace,