Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 64, 1897

The Compassion of Christ


June 6, 1897

Previously unpublished.

“When he saw the multitude, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then said he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” [Matthew 9:36-38.] 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 1

Today there is a multitude to be reached. How shall we get to the people? The world is full of suffering and distress, of disease of every stripe and type. There is constant need of deep, Christlike sympathy, which awakens love in the heart. This sympathy should be exercised at all times and in all places. Some are nearer the kingdom of heaven than others, because they have done service for others. They are more subject to divine influences, and more easily led. Some are deeper thinkers, and have more cultivated intellects. As these different minds look upon Christ, and listen to the words of the divine Teacher, His words seem to search out the deep things of God. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 2

Christ looked upon the multitude, and He had compassion on them. The compassion Christ manifested as He looked upon the multitude was not a strange thing to Him, for this love and compassion dwelt in the heart of the Father. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] It was compassion that brought Christ from heaven. It was compassion that led Him to clothe His divinity with humanity, that He might touch humanity. This unparalleled tenderness and sympathy He manifested for man in his fallen, sinful condition. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 3

Christ saw the multitude, and had compassion on them. The fulness of His soul was drawn out in heartfelt compassion. His farseeing intuition took in all the necessities of the case. Their physical weakness and suffering excited His deep interest and sympathy. He desired to relieve the hunger and thirst that made some faint and fall by the hillside. There was no thought in that heart of infinite love of indifferently passing along without noticing or assisting those who needed help. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 4

But the same compassionate heart that drew hearts to Him by being touched with the feelings of their infirmities saw a still greater need than bodily suffering. He saw symptoms of a deeper illness. Their physical suffering suggested the cause which had produced the effect. Outward affliction is the result of a sick, diseased heart. It was this great soul-trouble that led the great Physician to come to this earth as a Restorer. While the sufferings of the body excited His pity, He was moved to still great compassion for the needs of the soul. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 5

So it must be in any work in which we, the children of God, shall be drawn out to help suffering humanity. While ministering to the physical needs of those around us, we must show them that their hearts must be cleansed from all defilement. Christ’s compassion for outward necessities was followed by ministry for the deeper wants of the soul. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 6

There were many in that multitude who never, while they lived, forgot the experience of that day. When they were rested, fed, and healed of physical infirmities, their slumbering senses were aroused. They felt their spiritual need, and they commenced a new life. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 7

Christians should manifest Christlike compassion. But the enemy brings in many things to prevent that love and sympathy from being expressed. All who are connected with our churches need to closely examine themselves. Many have made self a center. They can only think and act with reference to themselves. So it was with many in the multitude. They had allowed their hearts to become closed to the wants of others. They were unmoved by the sight of suffering. They did not have the mind of Christ, and could not be co-laborers with Him. Sympathy was a test of the purity and goodness of the heart. The Lord marks our actions one toward another. We should closely examine the motives which prompt us to action. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 8

There is a class that is represented by Judas, and many belong to this class. Many bear the name Christian who are no more worthy of this name than was Judas. At the Passover supper, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. Astonished and sorrowful at the statement, the disciples said, “Lord, is it I?” [Matthew 26:21, 22.] They did not think that it was Judas, but Judas knew who it was. He had not reached the position he then occupied, in a moment. He had been given evidence that the general principles laid down in regard to Christianity closed the door against him as was. But in the place of reforming, in the place of being contrite, he braced himself up as being excusable in all he had done, as if his standard was correct. Gradually he grew to be less and less in harmony with truth, less and less in harmony with Christ. Yet Christ bore with him. He would give him every opportunity. And as His very last effort He washed his feet, and partook with him the sacramental supper. At this supper Judas had pressed next to Christ, in order to disguise his designs. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 9

Christ’s refusal to be exalted to the throne of David had influenced Judas against Him. The principles which led Christ to refuse were so entirely out of harmony with the principles that controlled Judas that Satan used this to tempt him to think that Christ could not be what He claimed to be. If He had been, he thought, He would have saved the life of John. He would have asserted His royal right. There were others whose hearts were selfish. Their ideas of right were confused by their own wrong course of action, and they did not care to understand Christ’s work. They went away offended. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 10

Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve. He had some good qualities, but he also cherished many wrong traits of character. He had not the love of God in his heart. Christ’s gracious words and work raised themselves as barriers, to keep him back from the worst sin a man can commit, but he heeded them not. Satan pressed himself closer and closer to him. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 11

As Judas represents a large class, we need to study his case. His purpose in uniting with the twelve was divided. He wanted to stand first in the new kingdom, and thereby be benefited. This kingdom, he thought, would come with outward power, acknowledged by the Jewish nation. His selfishness was oft manifested, but his greatest temptation was the love of money. If cultivated, avarice becomes a devouring passion. If the mind is imbued with the Spirit of Christ, it breaks down this idol. But if it cultivates Satan’s principles, it is over-mastered. One deviation from righteousness opens the way for another, and still another. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 12

Every advantage and opportunity should be cherished and improved. All should train their powers to do God acceptable service, through the grace and strength given [them]. It seems a mysterious thing that we are just as near to Christ as was Judas. Yet if, as with Judas, association with Christ does not make us one with Him as He is one with the Father, we are in the same danger of being outside of Christ, the sport of Satan’s temptations. Satan is playing the game of life for every soul, and he knows that evil passions grow with exercise. 12LtMs, Ms 64, 1897, par. 13