A Prayer for Knowing the Present Compassion of Jesus
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matt. 9:35-36
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Heb. 4:15
Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many reasons to love you; first and foremost, because of your great love for us. You make being completely honest and vulnerable with you, not a risk, but a relief. Today I’m particularly thankful for your compassion. Meditating on this one passage fills my heart with deep and timely encouragement.
When you look at crowds of harassed and helpless people, you don’t ignore them; you’re not irritated with them; you don’t rolls your eyes in disgust at them. Sympathy beats within your breast; kindness overflows; engagement is your tour de force. I see this everywhere in the Scriptures; help me to know it for myself this very morning.
At times my theology far outstrips my experience of you, Lord Jesus—my doctrine being more certain than my doxology. I need your Holy Spirit to convince me afresh that as you look at me right now, it’s mercy, understanding and patience you feel. I’m neither “harassed or helpless”, but I do need to be certain of your compassion nevertheless.
Lord Jesus, there are still times when I’m inclined to think you’re “up there” somewhere, sitting on a big chair beside the Father, surrounded by a multitude of angels, enveloped in a big choir singing full voiced. But I know better than that. I know you’re quite present with us—living in the hearts of each of your beloved flock. I know that and I really believe it; but would you come and shepherd my heart today?
Lord Jesus, certainly it’s enough to know that you suffered for us on the cross. I stake my life and death on this gospel—this good news that you were “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5)—that by your blood “you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). What you suffered on the cross, you suffered once and for all (Heb. 10:1-18), and we worship you now and will worship you forever because of your matchless sacrifice, but…
But it’s also deeply consoling to know that you share in our sufferings right now. You suffered for us, once and for all, and you suffer with us, as our wonderful merciful Savior and great and welcoming High Priest. During the times when you feel far away, you couldn’t be nearer than you actually are, Lord Jesus. So very Amen I pray, with gratitude and peace, in your compassionate and consuming name.