The Compassionate Jesus Cares for His People

God cared for Israel in the wilderness, and He always met the needs of the multitudes. Jesus also provided and cared for the people listening to him and the people He met in His earthly ministry. In the miracle of the loaves and the fish, Jesus multiplied the amount of food so that He could feed all who were present hearing His teaching. (See Matthew 15) He also met the needs of Peter and Himself when they owed the temple taxes. He tells Peter, “Cast in a hook and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money, take that and give it to them for me and you.” (Matthew 17:27) Jesus can always meet our need. In Matthew 6:25-29, Jesus teaches, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Jesus indeed cares for all of creation, even caring for each sparrow and creature on earth. (See Matthew 10:29-31) He has even numbered the hairs of our head! We should remember and acknowledge that He takes care of all His people today. In Isaiah 40:11, we see Jesus compared to a good shepherd that takes care of His sheep. It says, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” God also promises us that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2)

The Lord shows his infinite compassion for the sorrowing as well. Even in our sorrow, we know that because of our hope in Christ, “weeping may endure for night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Jesus transforms the valley of weeping into the valley of springs. (See Psalm 84:6) In Isaiah 61:3, we are told that the Spirit of the Lord comforts those who are grieving and sorrowful, consoling “those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” The words of the poet Robert Browning Hamilton teach us that these sorrowful and suffering experiences God places us in at various times can be the optimal situation for growing and learning. He wrote, “I walked a mile with pleasure; she chatted all the way. But left me none the wiser for all she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow and ne’re a word said she; but oh, the things I learned from her when sorrow walked with me.”

Most importantly, we know that Jesus can empathize and truly understand our pains and trials because of His very own earthly life in which He walked with us and suffered for us! We can see Him as our great High Priest, having atoned for our sins and interceded for us. Hebrews 2:17-18 describes this: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Many people today might ask themselves, “Does Jesus care?” When we look at the way He had compassion on His people, and the Scriptures that testify to His care of even the smallest details, we know that He indeed does care infinitely for our needs and sorrows. In Hebrew 4:15-16, we are told, “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Not only does Jesus know and understand our lives and weaknesses in our humanity, but He also loves us still, and came here to live on Earth as we are living now! In Isaiah 40:31, we are told, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Let us go back and look at the example with Peter and Jesus’ incident with the temple tax that was owed. The Lord knew which exact fish had the coin in its mouth, and He knew the location of that exact fish. He also knew it would be the first fish Peter would catch at that exact moment. This incident demonstrates Christ’s omniscience in all of creation. In Luke 5:5-8, we see Christ also knowing that His disciples would catch multitudes of fish at an exact moment and location on His command. Again, in John 21:6, we see a similar incident with Jesus commanding His disciples to cast their fishing nets off the right side of their boat, which yields a great number of fish. He knew the exact location, time and circumstance in which the disciples would be able to catch these fish, and provided for them in their need. In much the same way, God holds the key to our lives and orders our every step.

In Psalm 139:1-4, we see that the Lord indeed knows and ordains our every move and each detail of our lives: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” He programs our life, and He knows every path we take and all the things we do before we do them. As an example of this in Scripture, look at Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well in Samaria. He knows that she has had five husbands and that the man she lives with is not her husband. (See John 4:17) He knows her entire situation without seeing it firsthand, because He is the omniscient God. Even the color of our hair, skin, eyes, facial features, natural abilities, and all that pertains to our mental and physical state that existed in our embryo in germ form - the Lord Himself intimately knows this.

If we think about the Christian faith, we know that the heart of it is the Bible itself, and the heart of the Bible is what happened on the cross and thereafter. The heart of the cross is actually the very heart of God! God knows and understands all of what we have and will experience in our lives through His Son on the cross, continually showing compassion to the faithful. Let us rejoice in what happened there on the cross, remembering the words of the hymn, Hallelujah for the Cross: “The cross it standeth fast, hallelujah. Defying every blast. The winds of hell have blown. The world its hate hath shown. Yet, it is not overthrown. Hallelujah for the cross!”