The Gospel according to Mark preserves an extraordinary moment in time.
Jesus was going about doing good, healing all manner of diseases, raising people from the dead, and opening the eyes of the blind when a leper approached him, kneeled and said, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Mark 1:40).
Jesus reached forth His hand and touched the diseased man and said, “I will; be thou clean” (Mark 1:41).
And instantly, the man’s leprosy was healed.
The cleansing of the leper was indeed wonderful and so was the miracle that Jesus performed, however, the extraordinary moment that I am referring to is at beginning of verse 41.
It says, “And Jesus, moved with compassion …”
This leper had obviously heard about this miracle man called Jesus and His reputation was that He was a man of compassion, evidenced by the miracles He performed for the faithful.
Later on, in the Gospel of Mark, we read of yet another great act of compassion (one of so many) on Jesus’ part.
Blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by and he cried aloud for mercy, saying “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47).
People tried to hush him, but the more they insisted upon his silence, the more he cried out. His cries went into the ears of the Savior and, upon approaching Bartimaeus, Jesus healed him and restored his sight. It’s of no dispute that Jesus Christ was the most compassionate man to ever walk the face of the earth.
We are called Christians because we are followers of Jesus Christ, therefore it is evident that we ought to strive to be Christ-like (to be like Christ). Therefore, as Jesus was compassionate, so we also should be compassionate. I believe that we all could use a little more compassion in our lives. Compassion encompasses such things as long suffering, forbearance, not being quick to suspect evil or wrongdoing of one another and seeking understanding. Just think how much better our homes, our workplaces, our congregations and our world would be if a we all demonstrated a little more of the above qualities towards one another?
These same adjectives are also used to describe charity in 1 Corinthians 13, the “more excellent way” of which Paul taught.
Therefore, even if others don’t return these same sentiments, there is no excuse for us not to.
Charity says, “even if they don’t, I will.”
What is it if you love those (or only do good and have compassion) on those who love you? (Luke 6:32).
The Apostle Paul further wrote, teaching that we should esteem others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) and to never grow weary of well doing (Galatians 6:9). If Christ is truly in us, self-righteousness and the “look out for number one” and “me first” mentality should be non-existent. Jesus has had compassion on us in our sin and has overlooked all of our imperfections. How can we not do the same for one another without despising this great gift of the Lord’s mercy?
The Apostle John said, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
Jesus did not go to the cross for Himself. He went for us, esteeming us better and being full of compassion and love. We, as Christ followers, can do no less than the same.
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).
Steven Croft is the senior pastor of Boyd Memorial First Church of God in Athens.