“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them…” Matthew 9:36a
Two religion professors at a large university were walking on campus the first day of Octoberfest. The season was all the excuse many students seemed to need to get drunk and wreak havoc. As these two men walked they observed a drunken brawl on the lawn in front of the university chapel. The one said to the other, “Do you know what is for me the ultimate proof of our Lord’s divinity?””No,” the other replied, “What is the ultimate proof of our Lord’s divinity?””It is that verse,” said the first professor,”‘He looked upon the multitudes and had compassion.’ Reading that, I know how utterly different Jesus was from me. I look at these multitudes and want to…obliterate them.”
Was it Charlie Brown who said, “I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand?”
What do you see when you see the multitudes? When I see them on the highways, I see discourteous, dangerous and aggressive drivers, and I compete with them. When I see them crowded in shopping malls, I see them as obstacles to quick, efficient shopping, and I resent them. When I see them on television, in poverty-stricken countries, I see them as victims, and I pity them. When I see them sick, I see them as germ-bearers, and I avoid them. When I see them aligned with false religion, I see them as ignorant, and I feel superior to them. When I see them homeless, I see them as nuisances, and I despise them.
But there was Jesus Who was able to see people more accurately than anyone else on earth. He saw their immaturity…their selfishness…their pettiness. Beyond these, He saw their screwed up values…their rebellion…their hatred. He saw people who only wanted Him for what they could get out of Him. And when they were done they would cry out for His blood. They would murder Him. Yet He had compassion on them and taught them…healed them…fed them…wept over them…and died for them.
There is the difference between Jesus and me. May I be given His eyes to see not only what people are but what they might become…to see in others what He has seen in me…and to help Him give to others the same chance I have been given. Now what am I going to do about this?