“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
Our God cares about hurting people. Five times in the Bible the Lord is described as being full of compassion. Compassion carries with it the idea of feeling the hurt of another. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary begins the definition of compassion with these words, “A suffering with another; painful sympathy; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another.” When God’s people were in their Egyptian bondage, the Bible says, “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them” (Exodus 3:7, 8). This is the God of the Bible – the God that we love.
One of the most unfounded accusations that could be made toward our wonderful Lord is when critics accuse Him of not caring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God cares deeply about His creation. He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He sees the needs and feels the pain of those who are hurting. He is full of compassion.
This compassion that God has and is moves Him to action. In our text, Jesus was “moved with compassion” and put forth His hand to help and to heal. His compassion is not a passive love and feeling of pity, but it is compassion that is expressed in benevolent activity. Jesus identified His purpose for coming to this earth as being sent to heal those who were broken-hearted and delivering those who were captive and bruised.
True compassion involves our emotions, but it does not end there. It will result in assistance and deeds of concern. We need to be men and women of compassion. It is not enough to feel sorry for people or simply pity them, we need to bring Jesus to them and bring them to Jesus. Jesus told the story of a man going to Jericho who fell among thieves who abused him and abandoned him. A priest and a Levite passed by, but showed no compassion. The Samaritan responded differently. He went to the abused man, bound up his wounds, put the hurting man on his own beast, delivered him to an inn, and took care of him. This is the kind of compassion our Savior has, and this is the way He wants us to be.