December 07, 2010

Good News for the Poor

Matthew 15:29-39

“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.”
Matthew 15:32


Not long ago, while I was listening to a sermon, one phrase stuck with me. The speaker said that Jesus, the Word made flesh, became the voice of God.

It’s true. When Jesus spoke, he spoke as the one true God. When Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid,” that was God speaking. And when he said, looking at the poor, “I have compassion for these people,” that was God saying those words. Jesus spoke God’s words when he came to preach good news to the poor.

God cares about the poor, the homeless, and the hungry. When Jesus looked at people who were suffering in poverty, he was filled with compassion. By feeding the multitude, he backed up his words with actions.

Today, Jesus is still filled with compassion as he looks at the poverty of millions of people everywhere. And just as he said to his disciples on another occasion, “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16), he also says the same to us. We are the hands, feet, eyes, and ears of the Savior.

In his book The Hole in Our Gospel, Richard Stearns says that the church of today has a gospel with a hole in it. It has mostly failed to reach out with the compassion of Jesus to people who have nothing. Resolve this Christmas season to spend less money on yourself, and instead use it to show that Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, even today.

Lord, fill us with your compassion and give us eyes to see the needs of people in so many places. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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