True Compassion

“a bruised reed He will not break,
and a smoldering wick He will not quench,
until He brings justice to victory;” Matthew 12:20

I have been thinking about this verse a lot lately.  In context, this verse comes right after the religious leaders had come to Jesus and asked why His disciples broke the Sabbath by picking and eating grain.  Jesus reminded them that David had taken bread from the temple and eaten it and the priests ate bread on the Sabbath from the temple and were innocent. He said, “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” Matthew 12:7  Right after that He went into their synagogue where a man with a withered hand was and it was the Sabbath.  The religious leaders asked Him if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?  Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”Matthew 12:11-12  Even though that was a wonderful answer, the leaders did not like it and looked for a way to destroy Jesus.
He healed the man, also. Then Jesus went on to other places and Matthew writes that this whole situation with the Pharisees was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus, which I partially quoted at the beginning of this post.

Now that we have the context, I will share my thoughts about the particular verse I quoted. Please check the scripture yourself and do not take my words as God’s words- they are just my thoughts.  I am struck by the true compassion of Jesus here and pray He will, by His Spirit, help me have that kind of compassion. His compassion is in such contrast to the Pharisees’ obsession with following the law (not God’s Law, but man’s traditions).  He defends His disciples, who were hungry and picking grain to eat.  He heals a poor man with a withered hand (who, by the way, because he was not “whole”, he could not worship in the temple) and compares that act as like one who helps his helpless animal out on the Sabbath.

We are surrounded by people who are “bruised reeds” and “smoldering wicks”.  I want to be like Jesus and not break or quench them, but rather lead them out of their misery by doing and saying what will help them most.  There are so many people just in our churches who are so fragile and bruised from life’s “stuff”, not to mention the hurting and weary people outside our churches who are longing for someone’s compassion, tenderness and help.  May I, and others who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, share Him and His true compassion and truth with those who long to hear the good news of the Gospel.  May we tenderly, carefully help them see all that Jesus has for those who seek Him with their whole heart. May we see through the “traditions of man”,  be kind, be gentle, but also speak the truth in a loving way to those who are waiting for someone to hear their cry and help them.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Teresa
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 20:44:40

    You’ve certainly done this for me, my dear friend! I love you 🙂


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