Jesus’ Heart of Compassion Lifts Up the Suffering

Taken from a Red Rock News Article
Rev. Dona Johnson | Feb 4, 2024

It is custom in many denominations that after  Sunday worship the pastor or priest immediately  schedules pastoral care visits to members of their  congregation who are ill—in the hospital, nursing  home or those who are homebound. On these  visits they bring the church’s message that God ‘s  healing presence is with them, they pray for the  sick and offer the sacrament of holy communion.  When a person is struggling with or recovering  from an illness, there is not only physical suffering  but there are emotions that surface such as fear,  discouragement and doubts. And more  importantly, there is also the spiritual side of  illness, such as calling on God for hope and healing  and these are happening every day. There are also  laments and cries to God for divine help and  restoration. And then there is always the prayers of  joyful thanksgiving when the mercy and grace of  God brings about a healing.  

     Pastoral care is an extremely important  faith practice in the church as it should be. If  people are left unattended they can feel cut-off  from the very thing that they need the most— prayer and someone who cares. For God is very  attentive to the prayers of his people and when  they are sick, God feels their suffering and distress.  

     Jesus models pastoral care to his people in  the most self-giving and merciful manner. He has great compassion on those who are sick. Many  people have come to faith when God has healed  them. Many people in the final moments of life,  who have had a difficult time accepting Jesus,  quietly and some desperately call out to him for  help. They want peace with God. They want his  eternal assurance and God so lovingly grants it. For  those who call upon God will never be turned  away. As Paul said, “Everyone who calls out to the  Lord will be saved (Ro. 10:13).”  

     In Mark 1:29-31, we find Jesus healing a  demon possessed man right in the middle of a  synagogue service. After the synagogue service it  was customary to have a Sabbath meal. But on this  particular day, Jesus passed up his chance for a  meal. Once again, his power was appealed to and  once again he gave himself to others. He went  directly to Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick with  a “burning fever.” Jesus had the option to enjoy the  meal with his friends but it was not in his heart to  do so. The woman was sick and Jesus was never  too tired to help.  


When he reached the woman’s home, Jesus  went to her bed, reached out to her and lifted  (pulled) her up out of her burning fever. She was  instantly healed. No sooner than Peter’s mother-in law was healed and on her feet; she began to serve  those around her. In other words, she was saved to  serve. And truly that is what salvation is all about.  When God reaches down and lifts us up out of our  sin and brokenness and restores us to himself, in  great joy and love for how he saved us from our  peril, we too go out and serve and pray for the  healing of others.  


     The disciples had not been with Jesus very  long and already they had experienced his heart of  compassion, so much so they began bringing all  their daily troubles to him. And so can we. This  story though brief gives us a window into the very  heart of God. It is a heartwarming story that is  meant for all. It tells us that God has the power to  heal us. And that through Jesus, we have a God  who is so attentive to us, that he hears every word,  every cry for help that we speak in our hearts.  


     If you are reading this devotion and feeling  that you may need God’s healing presence in your  life right now email me. As a pastor, I will pray with  you and I am bound by my pastoral oath to keep all  prayers confidential.