November 23, 2005


Matthew 9:27-38

He had compassion on them, because they were ... like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36


A group of children huddled together on the school playground. A teacher, noticing they were crying, went to see what was happening. As she approached, she saw a young boy lying on the ground in the middle of the group. He was crying and holding his stomach. "What's the matter?" she asked the students. One of them said, "We've all got a pain in Jimmy's stomach." One of the beautiful hallmarks of Jesus' ministry is that he was capable of feeling other people's pain "in his stomach." He met two blind men, and his heart ached for them. Meeting a demon-possessed man gave him the same response. When he saw people who were "harassed and helpless," Jesus felt the same thing. Often when Jesus met someone who was suffering, the Bible says he had compassion on them, meaning he could feel their pain "in his stomach." I know Jesus has done that for me too, because he went to Calvary for me. He paid for my sin there and died my death because he was able to have my pain "in his stomach." He looked on me in my sinfulness and had compassion on me. I hope and pray that you know Jesus has done this for you too. Those of us who know Jesus' compassion are called to be Christlike. That means we must be capable of feeling other people's pain "in our stomach"--in our heart.

I give you thanks, Lord Jesus, for having so much loving compassion on me. Please help me to treat others with compassion for your sake. In your name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Howard Vanderwell

Rev. Howard Vanderwell was involved in pastoral ministry in the Christian Reformed Church for 40 years, serving as a pastor in Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan. Upon retirement in 2002, he began his work at Calvin Seminary, where he helped train the ministers of the next generation. Howard and his wife, Eleanor, were married for 57 years and had three married sons and ten grandchildren.

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