“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
I was reading Job this morning for a Bible study I’m preparing. It was not great. Job bums me out because it forces me to confront a God that can be so difficult to understand.
I needed a palette cleanser. I needed Jesus.
So, I went to the Gospels. And I was reminded of a beautiful word that only shows up in those four books.
σπλαγχνίζομαι (pronounced splagnizomai)
Not only does this word only show up in the Gospels, but every time it is used, it is used in reference to Jesus or to some character in a story that represents God.
It means, “to be deeply moved, to feel something in your gut, to yearn, be filled with the utmost compassion” to the point that you are compelled to act. It is the word used here, in Matthew 9, to describe what Jesus felt when He saw the crowds.
Keep in mind, that right before this verse it says that He had been going throughout all the cities and villages, teaching, proclaiming, and healing every disease and affliction. Jesus has been working, like a dog. Matthew 9 is filled with encounter after encounter of Jesus doing stuff.
So, I have to imagine that if what we say about Jesus is true… That He is truly God AND truly man, then there had to be days when He was just exhausted. Because His work never seemed to stop.
I won’t pretend to know what your days are like, but I know your jobs are hard.
People are exhausting. Work is exhausting. Life is exhausting. And with all the responsibilities you have on your plate, you may be feeling “harassed and helpless.
Jesus sees you. He is moved in His gut, the deepest part of His being, by His compassion for you. He cares for you. He will tend to you. He will help you. He can’t help Himself.
Cling to that promise.
My hope is that we, who are born again in Christ, would have that same σπλαγχνίζομαι for one another.
In Jesus name,