John 5:2-9 ~ Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
I mentioned in a previous post that there is a difference between human and divine compassion. This passage illustrates that point for us.
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by suffering or misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain or remove its cause. (Random House Dictionary)
As compassionate humans, we want everyone to be healed. You’ve probably heard something along the lines of, “Whenever we all come into the fullness of the Spirit we will go into the hospitals and get everybody healed!! Glory to God!!”
While that may seem to be a noble desire, is it in line with the will of God?
Sure, there are verses that would seem to indicate that it is God’s will for all to be healed. Yet, we each know from our own experience that (if nothing else) we are not walking in that reality.
Could it be that our compassion is human-based?
I’m not saying that it is wrong to have compassion. It is a necessary feeling. But, I do believe that like everything else, there is something higher, more valuable and beneficial, more powerful than human anything.
When any of our gifts, talents, abilities, emotions are infused with spiritual reality, they become more powerful than a simply human trait (John 15:5).
However, many in this day are wanting more than to simply have the Spirit join them in their endeavors. These are the ones who, like Jesus, desire to only say and do what they see their Father do. They want the genesis of their efforts to be in Him and Him alone; not any part from their own strength.
With that in mind, let’s look once again at the passage before us.
There were a multitude of sick people at the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus could have healed them all. He didn’t.
He walked up to the one whom the Spirit directed, and healed him.
That is divine compassion in operation. That is divine compassion without the human element messing things up.
It requires that we learn to be led by the Spirit, not by our desires or emotions (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:14).
NOTE: Writing the possible ramifications of this would be entirely too controversial, because each of us is on a different plane. Let the Spirit speak to you about the truth, or lack thereof, of these thoughts.
9 thoughts on “Compassion, the sequel”
Wow, Dale!! Thanks for pointing this out! It’s like it was there all along … but as He said once, “You thought I was just like you.” And how wrong we always are to think that! Human compassion would declare no limits; no boundaries – because we tend to think those things are ‘harsh’ or ‘uncompassionate.’ Yet … this is what God does! And He is compassion itself! So good, Dale. My heart is chewing this one over. Thanks!
Thanks Dale for giving me some great insite into compassion. When you said that Divine Compassion requires that we learn to be led by the Spirit, not by our own desires or emotions, hit me like a ton of bricks. I see from Gal. 5:16 and Romans 8:14 where I have missed it in the past. Thanks for enlightening me with the Truth.
Compassion…what a wonderful word! what a wonderful Savior! thank you!!
trying to catch up today with your blog…been missing you!!
I think, so often, we ask God to bless our efforts when we need to be asking Him to show us where to put our effort. Guide us to where You want to work today.
Great points, Dale. Thanks for this.
I think I’ve mentioned this post to about 5 people now. And I’m linking to it on my blog. It was a real eye-opener for me! Thanks!
Popped in because Annie posted a link somewhere. Very insightful. Thank you.
Particularly in an era where there is such a thing as ‘compassion overload’.
Ah…yes. But do not be confused. Jesus healed the only person who could NOT make it into the pool, the one who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, AND in all that time no one ever bothered to try to help him into the pool…which certainly doesn’t sound very “compassionate” to me…
And so it is the least of us to whom He pays the most attention.
(Time for me to fly…)
I love what Nor wrote… I have often thought that..Jesus knew who needed to be healed but also who wanted to be healed..amazing..HIS eyes roam to and fro for a heart that will be soft to HIM..
Yes, and this is what is meant by divine compassion–knowing, not just blundering through and doing something we think we are supposed to do. When we can move in divine compassion, we will see by the Spirit who the Lord is touching and we will touch that one.