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The Journal

The compassion of Jesus

Dear Friends,
In Matthew 18:10-14,21-35 we see the compassion of Jesus. In the first parable Jesus teaches about the initiative of the shepherd who goes looking for his lost sheep. Throughout the Bible we learn that it is God who makes the first move towards us. God’s grace is expressed in God in seeking us even before we think about him. This initiative of God to seek us and find us is what gives us security ! One of the most well known verses in the Bible - John 3:16 For God’s so loved the world that He gave His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life speaks of God’s initiative and the motivation of God. God seeks us because He loves us. He does this because He sees that we are sinners and under judgement and lost and that our only way to get out of our mess is by God’s grace. He does this because He wants to see our relationship with us restores and for that to happen our sin must be dealt with. Jesus out of compassion deals with our sin by dying on the Cross and taking the judgement for it instead of us. Remembering the compassion of Jesus or his grace is what refreshes us. We all need to know that we are loved by someone who knows us at our worst and still loves us us and has power to deal with our greatest problem - our sin. This gives us courage to face sin and pain and be willing to grow and change. In the second parable we learn about the merciful master who forgives a huge debt of his servant. This debt cannot be repaid by the servant and he begs for mercy. The master is merciful and cancels the debt. What happens next is that the servant who is forgiven encounters a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller debt. Despite his experience of incredible grace his response to his fellow servant is harsh. The master when he hears of this is angry because He expects that our experience of His compassion to us will in turn empower us to be gracious to others. A failure to forgive others is a failure to understand God’s grace and kindness to us. God expects that on the journey of faith we will through the work of the Spirit begin to resemble Jesus and especially grow in being compassionate and merciful to other people. At the 5pm service the passage set is Ephesians 5:1-21 which encourages us to be imitators of God. Paul reminds the Christians that we are dearly loved by God and so we should live a life of love. When we sin against God and against people we are not loving them and in fact are rebelling against God and His good purposes and failing to treat people with dignity and respect based on their creation in the image of God and redemption through the blood of Jesus. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara