The Compassion We Need

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GraceDo you ever find yourself day-dreaming about other people’s days? What it’s like to live their life? What it’s like to work their job?

I find it fascinating to learn about how other people spent their day. How, for example, Winston Churchill spent the majority of his morning doing work from bed. More to our day, the daily schedule of President Obama is interesting to look through.

More than merely people watching, looking at somebody’s daily routine shows what’s valuable to them. What they care about, and who’s a priority to them. For example, regardless of one’s political opinions about him, President Obama’s daily routine shows a devotion to people. You see his commitment to leading the country through his meetings, but you also see his commitment to his family by a daily devotion to dinner together. His love for people and influencing them shapes his daily routine.

At the end of Luke 4, we get the same type of daily routine window into Jesus’ life. Of all places, the day begins with Jesus in Capernaum, a town on the outskirts of Israel. And there, in the middle of town with little glam, Jesus is teaching.

I don’t know what your experience is with pastors and preachers, but they tend to get carried away. Often –  maybe it’s just me –  they like to hear themselves talk, a lot! But what happens is interesting. While Jesus is mid-sermon, a man possessed by a demon comes and starts heckling Jesus. And what does Jesus do? Shout him down? No. Jesus foregoes his sermon for a person.

And it seems that Jesus isn’t that interested in continuing to preach! Like being interrupted mid-conversation, the rest of us might want to get back on topic. But Jesus moves on. He then goes home to Peter’s house, and heals Peter’s mother-in-law. Then, at the end of the day, Jesus spends time way into the night, healing people. And, not just healing, like a general spray of holy water. Luke tells us that “he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them” (v. 40). Jesus personally cared about each person. They weren’t numbers. They were individuals. Each with their own story. Each with their own needs. Each with their own pain.

And Jesus healed every one. By hand. Personally.

I don’t know what you get from Luke’s snapshot of a “day in the life of Jesus,” but to me, I see compassion. Deep compassion.

Dobby and Harry Potter: Lessons in grace.
Dobby and Harry Potter: Lessons in grace.

There’s this moment in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where this “house elf” (a slave) tries to help Harry. Being nice, Harry does something rather off-handed and kind to help Dobby. It seems rather small to him, but to Dobby, it’s the first time anybody’s been kind to him. Dobby breaks down into tears. He’s been a tortured slave for many years, and this small, trivial act of kindness deeply affects him. In reply, Dobby says: “Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir, but of your goodness, Dobby never knew.”

I wonder if you and I are like Dobby in many ways? We’ve gotten used to the hardness of life. It’s difficult. I don’t know what your neighborhood is like, but if it’s like mine, life is tough. We can easily slip into having hard thoughts about God. We can think that he doesn’t care about us. But if this “day in the life of Jesus” tells us anything, maybe, just maybe, Jesus knows about you and he cares. Maybe you’ve heard of Jesus, but have you heard of his goodness? His compassion for you? He’s eager to help you.

In the difficulties of our lives and city, maybe it’s about this type of grace that we need to hear. Jesus knows. Jesus cares. He’s committed to compassion. Jesus comes, one by one, to personally touch and care for our pain. It’s a close compassion. It’s the compassion we need.

Young Jacob Young is the pastor of King’s Cross Church in Manchester. He and his wife live in the city with their three boys, and very patient neighbors. If you’d like to ask any questions, or give any feedback to Jacob, he can be reached at

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