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Jesus showing pity


Based on Jesus’ travel experience all around the villages in Galilee proclaiming the gospel, he had three initiatives different from the Jewish elites of the time.
(1) Jesus observed the “troubled and abandoned” situation of the people.
(2) “His heart was moved with pity for them.”
(3) He did what he could to ease their sufferings and acted for the expansion and continuation of his ministry through his disciples.

There are several occasions when Jesus noticed the sufferings of the people and took pity on them. “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick” (Mt 14:14). Before feeding the 4,000, “Jesus summoned his disciples and said, ‘My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way’” (Mt 15:33).

Out of sympathy, Jesus helped the helpless without their request for a favour –
(1) Jesus healed a man with a withered hand in a synagogue on a Sabbath (Mt12:9-14; Mk 3:1-6; Lk 6:6-11).
(2) He was “moved with pity” on a widow whose son had died, and he raised him during the funeral procession (Lk 7:11-17).
(3) He healed a person lying at the pool of Bethsaida who was sick for 38 years (Jn 5:1-15).
(4) He fed the 5,000 who came to listen to him (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-15).
(5) He fed 4,000 by stating, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd” (Mt 15:32-29; Mk 8:1-13).
(6) Jesus healed on a Sabbath a woman who was crippled by a spirit for 18 years (Lk 13:10-17).
(7) He healed a man with dropsy on the Sabbath while dining at the house of a Pharisee (Lk 14:1-6).
(8) Jesus healed the high priest’s servant at Gethsemane when Peter cut off his right ear (Lk 22:50-51).

During some of these and other occasions, the Pharisees and the Scribes looked with contempt at Jesus because he did those on a Sabbath or because he forgave the sins of the sick, which according to his opponents was blasphemy. They even plotted to assassinate him for these reasons.

The motivation for our service must come from the heart, the seat of love and compassion. Jesus had invited those who were meek and humble to find relief in his heart. Instead of a ritualistic religion, he chose a heart-centered faith. He substituted the Jewish religion with Christianity to offer service from the heart.

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