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Youth Group Devo: Compassion: How We Can Be Like Jesus

By Barry Shafer | Director, InWord | June 11 2012

The Backdrop

What's the first thing to pop into your mind when you read the following phrase: "Be like Jesus"?

For me, the absolute, very first thought that pops into my mind is simply: "I can't"; and I think most people have the same knee-jerk reaction. We picture Jesus either giving the ultimate sacrifice on the cross or performing some kind of miracle. Because those are tough things to imitate, we dismiss the command to be like Jesus as unreachable.

So let's not start there in trying to be like Jesus.

Thankfully, Jesus displayed a couple of traits that are less miracle-like and more human-like. Let's start there.

The What

The Scripture passages below contain common daily scenes of Jesus interacting with folks. As you read each passage, circle anything that describes Jesus' emotions.

After you've read each passage, take a minute to process the detail using the questions provided.

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:35-38).

• What was Jesus' emotion?

• What was the situation that emotionally moved Him?

• What did He do in response?

"When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick" (Matthew 14:13-14).

• What was Jesus' emotion?

• What was the situation that emotionally moved Him?

• What did He do in response?

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things" (Mark 6:34).

• What was Jesus' emotion?

• What was the situation that emotionally moved Him?

• What did He do in response?

"As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.' Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!' The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother" (Luke 7:12-15).

• What was Jesus' emotion?

• What was the situation that emotionally moved Him?

• What did He do in response?

The So What

Jesus' emotion should have been pretty obvious: compassion (or you might say heartbreak). Now, that is a trait that we can imitate. Here's another thing: The circumstances that moved Jesus are still with us today. We all know people who are helpless, people who are sick, people who need to be taught, people who have experienced incredible loss.

In fact, take a minute to list anyone you can think of in your friendship or acquaintance circles who fit any of the circumstances seen in these passages. Write names in the space provided below and write an idea for something you can do to minister to their needs. Then, here is the most important part: Do it.

Before you know it, you will be ever so slightly like Jesus.

Someone who is helpless:

Here's what I can do:

Someone who is sick:

Here's what I can do:

Someone who needs to be taught about the Christian faith:

Here's what I can do:

Someone who has experienced loss:

Here's what I can do:

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