On the original draft of this page was an article by Rev. Derrick Bowman encouraging people to prayerfully support a mission team heading to Liberia in the summer. In God’s providence, that mission team will not be going. We pray that God will permit a team to visit our missionaries in the near future. In the meantime, I was left with a blank space as the coronavirus effect impacted this publication.
It is my hope that this global pandemic will impact our hearts as it continues to impact our world. There has been, and will be, no shortage of controversy surrounding this crisis: lock down or not; public worship or not; reopen or not; masks or not. Christians have not avoided these debates and indeed, a prudent, biblical perspective should be brought to bear upon the issues of society. I trust that as we do so the ungodly will see that the true follower of Christ is marked by the compassion of Christ for His neighbor.
Christ showed compassion to the sick. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). The sinless Son of man epitomizes a sinless response to illness, viz. compassion. Sickness is unavoidable in a fallen world, but we must never be calloused in heart. Familiarity breeds contempt and when we are exposed to relentless accounts of illness, we might not be moved with compassion as we ought.
Christ showed compassion to the poor and hungry. “Then Jesus … said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way” (Matthew 15:32). Coronavirus in its wider effects has plunged people around the world into poverty. May the Spirit work compassion in us. Let Paul and John inform our actions: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17)
Christ showed compassion when He saw death. At Lazarus’s grave, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). There have been very few times in recent decades that we have been hearing of rising death tolls daily. Once more, we must guard our hearts from becoming unmoved. Pray that we will know the love of Christ as we see the curse of sin being worked out before our eyes and as families suffer the pain of loss.
Christ showed compassion for the lost. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). The Lord knew that suffering comes due to the Fall of man into sin. He knew that those who died in tragedy entered eternity. Hence in Luke 13, when confronted with human tragedy, Christ responds, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Across the world, people are dying—that has always been the case. May the thought of multitudes going to a lost eternity drive us to pray, to go, to send missionaries, and to share the gospel in our neighborhood as the Lord gives opportunity.
These days of concern, confusion, and conflict demand that Christians show Christ’s compassion. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Dr. Stephen Pollock is minister of Malvern FPC, Malvern, PA and present editor of Current.