In Matthew 14:13-21, we find the miraculous story of Jesus feeding thousands of people.
Matthew tells that Jesus was moved by compassion when he saw the great crowd following him, being tired and hungry without a place to rest and be fed. Here, we side and learn from the compassionate side of Jesus. To help us reflect on the significance of this, the word “compassion” means “to feel with.” When we have compassion for someone, we try to feel what they are feeling, meet their needs, and heal their pain.
Henri Nouwen, in his book “The Wounded Healer,” speaks to this saying that Christ heals our pain and binds up our wounds not just by saying something superficial like, “So you’ve got it bad; I’ve got it bad too, tough luck, fella.” Christ does not heal by some sort of me-too-ism; instead, says Nouwen, “He deepens the pain to a level where it can be shared.”
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be Christ-like, a wounded healer, one who, like Christ, identifies with human pain and becomes a channel for its healing. Hence, to live in compassion is to move into a deep commitment to our faith. Jesus exemplifies this perfectly through the witness of his life, teachings, ministry with and to others, and with his ultimate act of obedience, the cross.
Compassion, ultimately, is an outcome of our devotion to God, and it underlines the commitment to our faith and the content of our character.
What are the ways you have seen people show compassion to others? What are the ways that you have or could show compassion to others?
Rev. Dr. Edgar Bazan is an Elder in the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Edgar grew up in Mexico and moved to Dallas, Texas in 2004 with his wife, Dr. Evelyn Garza, to serve as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. Edgar has his Master of Divinity from the S.M.U. Perkins of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. Most of his ministry has focused on revitalizing churches in urban communities and working with non-profit organizations. Edgar’s goal in life is to contribute to the success and well-being of others.