Compelling Compassion
April 1, 2016

C. R. Oliver

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April 1, 2016

Compelling Compassion


Sometimes it is necessary to reiterate the purpose of the Monthly Newsletter. Although its purpose has been modified from its origin, today it serves as a gift to individuals and study groups for their use as a point of reference. It is arranged in such a way as to provide enough material to be studied on a weekly basis by a group or as a one-time consideration. An individual can sit and read most of them in one sitting or share with others by using a brief format. Many recipients copy or send them as forwards to others. Kevin Stoltenberg, for example, translates them into other languages, animates the messages and accommodates those with a visual handicap to hear it read to them. Kevin also incorporates them into a media box program supplied without cost to missionaries worldwide. The March 1, 2016 edition caused a leading evangelist to request permission to use the Newsletter on his facebook page. Permission was granted. When you receive these Newsletters they are yours to use and quote. They are sent with one purpose--that they may reach as many as the Spirit would direct. The Newsletters are not for everyone, but Oh, that they might be useful to the Bride. The Newsletters are without charge and always have two main ingredients: a Bible study and a missions report. They are now sent to many countries beside the US and as that outreach continues, may the Lord bless each of you for making the Newsletter one of the most "opened" emails as reported by Net Atlantic.

Today's Newsletter concentrates on a much needed ingredient in the life of a believer.


(Before entering a word study on compassion, it is necessary to touch Calvary and recognize this was Jesus' greatest act of compassion for mankind. His assurance of the adjacent thief and His cry, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," forever stand as the ultimate expression of COMPASSION. Regardless of definition and word usage in the New Testament it is necessary to see Calvary as His Father's greatest act of compassion. Any word definition must include the fact that Jesus laid down His life. stemming from a compassionate heart.)

Compassion in the NT:

NT:4697 Compassion
splagchnizomai (splangkh-nid'-zom-ahee); middle voice from NT:4698; to have the bowels yearn, i.e. (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity:
KJV - have (or be moved with) compassion.

It is interesting to note that this form of the Greek word for compassion was used primarily during the life of Jesus and His ministry on earth. Several times He was portrayed as "groaning within Himself."
John 11:38 (at Lazarus' tomb)
Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
After Jesus' resurrection, several different words were chosen to commiserate "compassion." One of the words was oikteiro NT: 3627, which will be incorporated later along with three others.

Note, please, the following sequence of events surrounding Jesus and His Disciples where compassion was a key factor.

The Disciples successfully had gone out to evangelize, without purse or arrangement, and this was the result: Herod beheaded John, the Baptist and ended his ministry. Then the disciples returned and Jesus showed compassion on them, for they had worked solidly, denying themselves any leisure time and sparing no time to eat.
Mark 6:12-13
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Then came the Death of John
Mark 6:30-35
30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and out-went them, and came together unto him.
34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Next, in the sequence, was the feeding of the multitudes, but during this event-sequence, a transition was taking place because of the death of John. John preached under the Old Covenant and carried with him a Burden as is in the Old Testament prophets. As will be shown below, a "burden" is quite different than compassion. Jesus said His burden was light and His yoke easy. This is a reference to the OT "burden of the Lord," which entailed a spiritual weightiness which built to a moment of release. The burden was pictured as a yoke about the prophet's neck, which was constantly a factor in everything he did, whether it was uttering a prophetic word or confronting kings and religious leaders or just everyday life.
OT:4853 Burden
massa' (mas-saw'); from OT:5375; a burden; specifically, tribute, or (abstractly) porterage; figuratively, an utterance, chiefly a doom, especially singing; mental, desire:
KJV - burden, carry away, prophecy, they set, song, tribute.
Compare burden to the OT use of compassion:
rachuwm (rakh-oom'); from OT:7355; compassionate:
KJV - full of compassion, merciful.
The anointing on Jesus broke the yoke and lightened the burden.

Again, following the sequence, one might entitle this portion, "From the mountain top to mission field." The Transfiguration actually approved the transition between Old and New Testament. John, Moses and Elijah were gone and Jesus was anointed as heir of all things.

The Transfiguration signaled the change from "burden" to "compassion" with the appearance of two great prophets as they handed over the reins to Jesus. Jesus was preparing His church for a different ministry than that of the Jews and their Temple (as will be revealed just after this startling scene, which overwhelmed Peter and John).

Jesus came down from the mountain, preferring to minister compassion rather than build a temple or tabernacle. Jesus stepped to center stage while moving through the crowd which surrounded His Disciples. The main rulers of the Temple were busy engaging them.

Please get the picture; here is a father having to deal with a demon-possessed boy, while the Disciple's attention was toward the religious rulers. The Disciples were making a social, cultural and religious decision as to rank of importance. Beside this, they had already tried to heal the boy and failed, so they were moving forward to take care of business. The focus of Jesus, however, was on the lad. It is comical in one degree. Their debate was whether Elijah had come or not. Jesus probably answered as He passed the huddle, "Yeah, I saw him about an hour ago."

Jesus had compassion on the boy. This was that "entering in" kind of commitment. One might think the Disciples would have learned something about such on their mission, but here, Jesus was setting priorities.

One immediately sees why there is no Seminary course entitled "Compassion 101." Why? Is it that it is not a learned behavior? Is it a trait of the early church that has been lost in modern times? Is this the reason pulpits hear no tearful appeals that reach into the very being of every listener? Is this why the arid world dubbed "prayer gatherings" more often resemble a Bible study or a social event than an all night "praying through."

Compassion as the "inner groaning" that leads to acute involvement must be once again experienced in the Bride. To be like Jesus is a must. To walk as He walked is the lost ingredient that must be added back to the spiritual mix. It is what makes the Bride the "salt" of the earth. There rises an anointing in compassion that is spelled out in Luke 4:18. It comes with the Spirit of the Lord. There is no synthetic or generic for it. To possess it is to be possessed by it.

Compassion confronted and changed that scene by the sea shore where a little boy would never again toss himself into the water.

Compassion must once again cause us to leave the pleasant configurations of a mountain top experience and hurl ourselves into the throws of another's dilemma. Jesus was moved with compassion.

What moves the believer today? Answer this question, and you hold the key to the spiritual decadence of a generation.

Compassion as a way of life.

Compassion was a prime ingredient throughout Jesus' ministry.

What caused Jesus to halt a funeral procession? It was compassion for a widow who had lost her husband and now her only son.
Luke 7:11-17
11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
Yet again, consider compassion's role in the life of Jesus. Enter Lazarus' death.

Jesus wept upon the occasion of Lazarus' death and burial, for He groaned and was moved with compassion. Was His weeping out of sympathy for Lazarus's family or the reality of their ignorance of their power as believers? He wept because this scene would be repeated a million times through the earth as tragedy and loss encounters the world, and He knew His resurrection would change every case from a dismal loss to a moment of great joy.

Compassion is confrontational.

Jesus heard the cry of the blind beggars and His response was compassion.
Matthew 20:33-34
33 They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." 34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
Compassion characterized Jesus' ministry-what characterizes yours? Most of these scenes found Pharisees or religious leaders observing the action, but never comprehending the compassion being displayed. They were outsiders to it. Their blinded minds were filled with other interests, not His interests.

May I have permission to say, "Such is the state of the church today. Temples produce religious zealots who commission Saul's, not people with compassion. The groaning of spiritual comprehension is drowned by the whining of selfish theologs."

No wonder those under Jesus' ministry in the Temple exclaimed, "Never has one ministered as this one." Teaching from a heart of compassion sounds different than what the public normally hears.

Is it any wonder most of His ministry was outside the Temple and among the multitudes?
Mark 1:40-42
Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."
The demoniac was cleansed of legions because God had compassion on him and filtered it through the power of Jesus. His compassion was so powerful, the swine keepers could not stand His presence. This is the norm for the compassionate.
Mark 5:18-20
18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Compassion always expresses itself in the life of a believer.

Two of the most outstanding illustrations used by Jesus to show the extent of the compassionate heart are found in the gospel of Luke. Jesus' examples were the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 and the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

The Good Samaritan encompassed a man despised by Jews assisting a total stranger who had been beaten and robbed. The Samaritan knew what it was to be cast aside, denigrated and alone. Out of his heart, with no regard as to cost and with his integrity of person, he shouldered the expense of a stranger's medical recovery. He had no hope of return compensation and stood to gain nothing of praise for his deed. But, he was immortalized by Jesus and read about for centuries.

Compassion does that!

Equally, Jesus showed the Father's heart in the account of the Prodigal Son. The wayward boy owned nothing and owed everything when he returned home. But, there he was, a father longing to see his son and willing not to listen to the boy's confession. A father, who spent his days praying for and believing for his son's return, could do no less under compassion's mandate. The father forgave all the sin, the fornication, the drunkenness, the dereliction of duties and the downward mobility with one phrase: "He had compassion on his son!" Although the elder brother possessed none of the compassion of the father, he portrays a compassionless society more interested in the details of the son's debauchery than the fact of his restoration.

Compassion displaces the rational mind.

Compassion goes beyond man's reason and reaches into the spiritual wealth "of the God-kind." It displays hope for redemption and restoration. It reaches out to the lost, while requiring only that it be received. Before it, the rehearsal of humiliating circumstances vented by a recipient go unheeded in the fact they are not necessary in order to receive. Sins are forgiven and will only be important to the compassionless populace.

"This kind of compassion" can never be demonstrated by government programs or church programs. I say this with assurance because this kind of compassion requires "entering in" to another's life and dealing with issues on an intimate, one to one level!

Note: Neither Parable recipient was required to do anything but receive and get well.

Paul, who never heard these illustrations in the flesh but saw their impact on the Disciples, wrote:
Rom 9:15-17
5 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth
Paul used a different Greek word for compassion in this passage. It seems that when compassion characterized the ministry of Jesus and the Disciples, before the cross, the word splagchnizomai (as we introduced at the beginning) was used. In the remainder of the New Testament four other words were used. Below is Strong's definition of the one Paul used here.
oikteiro NT:3627
(oyk-ti'-ro); also (in certain tenses) prolonged oiktereo (oyk-ter-eh'-o); from oiktos (pity); to exercise pity:
KJV - have compassion on.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek- Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Yet, there is another word, metriopatheo.
metriopatheo (met-ree-op-ath-eh'-o); from a compound of the base of NT:3357 and NT:3806; to be moderate in passion, i.e. gentle (to treat indulgently):
KJV - have compassion.
Metriopatheo is used to describe the office of the High Priest in his intercession. It also relates to the "office" of the Great High Priest who understands our infirmities. Think of the huge capacity for forgiveness and restoration that Jesus occupies on our behalf as the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. He sits on the throne of grace, which is filled with compassion.
Heb 5:1-11
For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
"You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You."
6 As He also says in another place:
"You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek";
7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"
The Prodigal soul has a Father who practices compassion.
The dying victim has a Helper and a Restorer who is willing to be the source of all his need.
The man wrestling with insurmountable difficulties that would toss him overboard sees
          Jesus in the foreground bearing great compassion and healing.
The physically impaired are given healing and hope from the Great One.

Compassion becomes to us more than a series of words-it is part of who we are; it is our calling.
Heb 10:32-39
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion (sumpatheo) on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 "For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him."

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Here, yet another word for compassion is employed; it is sumpatheo (sympathy).
sumpatheo (soom-path-eh'-o); from NT:4835; to feel "sympathy" with, i.e. (by implication) to commiserate:
KJV - have compassion, be touched with a feeling of.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek- Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Sumpatheo is an exacting word used in Paul's treatise on how to love and fellowship with one another.
1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Yet, another word expressing Compassion is used to form a principle of life. This time it is coined by Jude, who wraps up his powerful rebuke with it. The word is eleeo.
eleeo (el-eh-eh'-o); from NT:1656; to be compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace):
KJV - have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, show) mercy (on) another.

Jude 20-23
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Jude draws a line using the Spirit of discernment. He relates that some need more than a sympathetic touch; they need rescuing. There is a difference between a sympathetic arm around a person to give assurance and that of a strong arm of deliverance that intrudes into the darkness and pulls a soul from the grip of satan.

O Church, awaken to the God-kind of Compassion!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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