This week I am praying for a couple going through a divorce, a child who attempted suicide, a young man kicked out of his school, an unplanned teenage pregnancy, a scary emergency room visit, a husband out of work…just to name a few.
Seeing the enemy’s hand in the lives of people I care about reminds me of my favorite description of Jesus given in Matthew’s Gospel: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV) I often feel harassed and helpless.
Today is Good Friday. It’s 2 p.m. Two thousand years ago at this moment Jesus was on the cross…he had about one hour left to live. I think about that. I think about these prayer requests. And I’m reminded why Jesus has compassion on us sheep… “…he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV). He has compassion on the sick and the sorrowful because “”he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…” (Isaiah 53:4, NIV). He has compassion on those of us needing justice because “By oppression and judgment he was taken away…” (Isaiah 53:8, NIV). He has compassion on those of us stung by rejection because “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2, NIV).
Jesus has compassion on humans because he gets it. He’s been where you and I have been. He has felt what we’ve felt.
Isaiah finishes his prophecy by reminding us that his compassion was so great that he “poured out his life” and “bore the sins of many.” What a great shepherd.
I hope to see you tonight for our Good Friday service, 6 p.m.