Day 3

Day 3: Compassion

Romans 12:15: “Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying.”

Lesson: In John 11:1-44, we find an amazing story about the power and love of Christ. At the beginning of this story, Jesus is ministering when he learns that his friend Lazarus is sick. Instead of immediately rushing to heal him, Jesus remains where he is for a few more days. Then, he tells the disciples they need to go to Lazarus because he is dead, and Jesus plans to wake him up. They go to Judea where Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, tell Jesus he is too late, and Lazarus has been dead for four days. They lead Jesus to the place he is buried. Jesus tells Lazarus to come out, and Lazarus does. 

This story certainly shows the amazing power Jesus has over death, but one part stands out. In verse 35, after Jesus has been led to Lazarus’ tomb, it simply states, “Jesus wept.” At first, this statement seems simple. Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, is dead and he is overcome with emotion. But, why would Lazarus’ death make Jesus weep when he knew fully well that he was about to bring Lazarus back to life? He knew it would all work out, but still he wept. Could it be that Jesus knew his friend had suffered and he was overcome with empathy for him? Could it be that Jesus saw Mary and Martha’s grief and felt their sorrow? It seems likely that the answers to these questions is an emphatic, “Yes!” He knew that Lazarus, Mary, and Martha would all have eternal life and that death was not the final answer, but he still deeply understood their pain. In this story, Jesus shows true compassion. He recognized and felt their pain, and the same is true for us today. Jesus intimately knows our deepest pains. 

God is with us not only in our joy and triumph, but also in our brokenness and pain. And, we are called to show that same compassion to others. This calling is especially important during this season where so many people are suffering. Though we might not be able to be with them in person, we must still seek to show compassion to others. Compassion is not about knowing all the answers or having all the right words to say; rather, compassion is about being present, listening, and sharing in others’ heartfelt emotions. As the opening verse instructs, we should learn to be happy with those who are happy and cry with those who are crying. 

Activity: Read the story of Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:1-44). Pray that God would open your eyes to notice those around you and fill your heart with compassion. Practice compassion today by purposely reaching out to someone. As you reach out, here are some tips for practicing compassion:
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Recognize their emotions and communicate that you recognize them
  • Ask questions and avoid giving judgements or solutions
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