Moved by the Multitudes
“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)
If the milk of human kindness and compassion ever dwelled in any human being, then it most abundantly dwelled in Jesus Christ, our anointed savior. The perfect sinless, tender heart of the son of God was a radiant reflection of the heart of the Almighty, his father, and our father (Hebrews 1:3).
This characteristic of loving compassion was demonstrated over and over again in the numerous healings the master performed on the groaning creation. Miracle after miracle was performed, almost always on the Sabbath. This was perhaps to demonstrate how humanity’s mental and physical diseases will all be healed on the great Sabbath Day Millennial Kingdom.
He Came to Heal
The world of humanity, plunged into its sinful condition by father Adam and contaminated by the downward effects of selfishness, pride, and unrighteous acts of every manner and form, has received the consequences of sorrow, pain, suffering, and death. Our beloved Jesus, touched by mankind’s inability to successfully rise out of this miry pit of helplessness, came to this earth to be the ransom price of redemption for father Adam and his race. In addition to providing the ransom price, Jesus came to learn obedience and sensitivity to the diseased condition of man. He saw the pain up close and personally. He heard the cries of sadness and the pleas for help from the distressed. Jesus bore the people’s grief and carried their sorrows. He was bruised for their iniquities. He reached out to the afflicted, touched their hearts, healed their spirit, and gave of his virtue to alleviate their physical infirmities (Isaiah 53:3-5).
Jesus’ attitude, even towards some of the most fallen individuals, clearly showed that it mattered not how beat-up in life and lacking in faith an individual was, or how badly a person had succumbed to fleshly weakness and ignorance. They were worth saving and healing. Whether it was an unfortunate prostitute, a hardened tax collector, or a sinful fisherman, the gentle, compassionate Jesus healed them all. It is only when sin can no longer be removed from the sinner, or someone has unrepentantly and belligerently committed a “sin unto death,” unto the second death, that mercy, love and forgiveness might ultimately turn aside from the sinner (Hebrews 6:4-6). Jesus wanted to not only demonstrate the mercy of God, but also to exhibit the power of God that would be exercised in the Kingdom. Jesus also needed to validate his role as the Messiah and son of God to strengthen the faith of his followers and confirm to them his identity.
A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break
When Jesus healed the sick, he was beginning to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, “A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:3 NASB, Matthew 12:17-21).
Jesus was communicating God’s mind and heart regarding the value of human life. He was expressing compassion for the “bruised reeds” who so needed his healing touch. Even though a person has doubts about God and His promises, even though their life has seemingly been shattered beyond repair; if there is a “spark” of faith toward God, it should be fanned and encouraged to become a hopeful blaze. This spark of faith is what Jesus was looking for when he performed his miracles. He was deeply touched by those who believed. Our attitude as body members of Christ should likewise exhibit loving compassion for others and appreciate faith wherever it is found (1 Corinthians 12:12).
The Value of a Man
Jesus tried to demonstrate the value of a man’s life. Earlier in Matthew 12:11, 12, Jesus essentially asked: “Is a man’s life more valuable to God, or to yourselves, than the life of a sheep? If a sheep fell into a pit on the Sabbath, which of you would not pull it out?” The need of a person, or even of some animal, will sometimes outweigh the need to follow the seeming “letter of the Law.” Jesus was showing that justice must be balanced with love.
Jesus looked at the groaning human race with sympathy. He knew that the Kingdom would bring them such blessings (Ephesians 1:10). The leper in Matthew 8:1-3 represented the sinful condition of humanity. This leper came to Jesus with an unassuming plea for assistance from his loathsome condition. The leper had some knowledge and faith in Jesus’ healing power. Inspired by that knowledge and belief, he acted, and received a blessing that rewarded his hope. The leper was purified from an awful, debilitating disease, even as mankind’s leprosy of sin will eventually be removed in Christ’s Earthly Kingdom (Revelation 21:4).
The beggar born blind was also a recipient of Jesus’ kindheartedness and compassion (John 9). He too can be seen as a symbol of the blind world of mankind. As Jesus made clay from his spit combined with dirt and covered the man’s eyes, his thoughts may have reached out to the time when the words of his mouth would likewise touch every blind eye on earth. Those whose faith will lead them to believe in the power of the great healer will be granted the desire of their hearts, and finally their spiritual eyes will be opened. These little miracles undoubtedly had much greater meaning to Jesus in the grander light of God’s plan.
Another episode took place when Jesus healed the lunatic boy. The boy’s father came to Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water” (Matthew 17:15 NASB). Here was a mental disorder caused by demon possession. The boy was tormented as he was driven, against his natural human instincts, to harm himself in the fire and water. How many people have been so afflicted down through the ages? Now, in this boy, Jesus could cast out the demon and end the power of evil in this young life. How simple was the solution for one who held the power of God in his hand. At Jesus’ first advent it was a power that was used only in small samplings. Someday, it will be released in full glory, healing the world from its lunacy, from its sinful recklessness and self-destructive behavior.
Some of us have cried out to God for help in time of need, even desperate need. We may be like the nobleman of Capernaum whose son was deathly ill and pleaded for help. Jesus observed the nobleman’s sincerity and faith and granted the desire of his heart (John 4:49-50. Over and over again, so many pleading souls came to Jesus for his healing hand and warm, loving heart. What they probably did not realize is that every time he healed someone, a bit of virtue, or vitality, was drained from his energy resources (Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19). No matter how tired Jesus was from endless hours of teaching, he lost even more strength as he performed each miracle. How sacrificially selfless he was. How absolutely committed to his role as the savior of mankind was he as their Redeemer. How Jesus must have yearned for humanity’s release from the bondage of sin, disease and death.
See People for What They Will Become
Due to the vision that was set before him and his dedication to the Father’s will, Jesus was willing to suffer all things. How much are we like our master? What are we willing to sacrifice of our time, talents, influence, and means, to become part of that great Physician, the Christ, the Seed that will bless all the families of suffering humanity (Galatians 3:8, 29)? Do we see people the way they are — with not only all of their physical diseases, but also their mental diseases resulting from the stain of sin? Or do we see people the way they will be in the Kingdom, looking past the moral and mental imperfections? Jesus could do that. Through his miracles he could feel the satisfaction of what it would be like to someday lift the curse off of mankind, once and for all.
This ability to see people for what they will ultimately become in the Kingdom takes time and effort. We need to perceive people in the proper way. It is part of developing the four quarter marks of love (see Volume 6, page 369). Jesus could do this, whether he was looking at a diseased body or someone with a diseased mind. Because he could visualize them for what they will become in the Kingdom, he could endure the pain, suffering, and humiliation of a life of sacrifice necessary to redeem them. Perhaps he considered the Roman guards who were nailing his body to the cross: How would they feel about their actions once their hearts have been transformed in the Kingdom, knowing they had been a tool in crucifying the Son of God? How the humbling effect will help cultivate their hearts for a prosperous restoration of mind and body as they come to appreciate true forgiveness (Hebrews 12:2-4).
Calming the Storm
Consider another miracle Jesus performed, this one on the Sea of Galilee for the benefit of the apostles. A great tempest had arisen, pounding the boat that Jesus and the apostles were on. Perhaps the Adversary thought he could destroy Jesus and the apostles by drowning them in the turbulent waters. The apostles were distressed with waves coming up over the side of the boat and very fearful of their lives. Jesus was asleep from the weariness of his journey and the exhausting efforts of his service and sacrifice (Mark 4:37-41).
When Jesus arose from his sleep he gently upbraided the apostles for their lack of faith, and with the holy energizing power of God’s spirit, transformed the turbulent power of the threatening waves to a complete calm. What an incredible power Jesus had access to, which could overcome even the forces of nature itself and thwart any evil efforts of the great Adversary! Truly, the same power watches over us. We are virtually immortal until the divine hand allows the forces of nature and mortality to take away our lives. If Jesus had the power to turn aside a powerful storm, could he not turn away the powerful storms in our own lives? He would do this only if he saw that it would be in our best spiritual interests. Do we ever hear the words of our master echoing in our ears, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26, Psalms 46:1-7, 91:1-16).
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). In the previous scenario, Jesus had looked with compassion upon the apostles’ fledgling faith in God, and in himself. He knew their faith, cultivated through the trials of life, would be supervised for their eventual development as sons of God (1 Peter 1:7). They would eventually learn that their strong faith in God would carry them to victory over all their fears as well as the influences of the world. Fear was a device used by the adversary to detour them from winning the crown of life (2 Peter 1:4, Romans 8:32). Their cultivated faith would lead them to cling tenaciously to every precious promise that God had given, bringing calm in any storm. Complete confidence in God and trusting His word and power, then, is an absolute necessity in the formula for spiritual success.
Human kindness and compassion have never dwelt more abundantly in any human being than in our loving, tender master, Jesus Christ. This incredible being, who will be the great mediator of mercy, compassion, and justice in the Kingdom, extends a gracious invitation to each of us to miraculously change self by the energizing power of God. We are called to share with him in the glorious opportunity of blessing and healing all of the families of the earth as part of that great mediator. But first, we must develop the master’s mind, heart, and receive God’s holy Spirit. We, too, must have a sensitivity to people’s suffering and see them for what they will become in the Kingdom. Then will the healing beams of the “Sun of Righteousness” shine in full glory, touching, not a few here and there, but everyone who has ever lived. What an amazing miracle will have been performed when the Spirit and the Bride say “Come,” and the overwhelming majority of humanity will finally be healed from sin and death and restored to the promised perfection that God has always intended for earth’s billions (Malachi 4:2 Amplified, Matthew 13:43, Revelation 22:17, Ephesians 1:10).