The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand reveals Jesus’ model of compassion.
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)
The word (splanchnizomai) translated here as compassion means to be moved into action from the core of one’s being. It occurs twelve times in the New Testament. This term is different than just feeling for someone. Wherever this term occurs in Scripture it is followed with action because it is a term of feeling met with action. There are five different Greek verbs translated as compassion in the New Testament. The Greek term, splanchnizomai, is used in this story (Mark 6:30-44; Matthew 14:13-18) because Jesus unmistakably had more than just empathy for these people. He had “compassion on them.”
James 1:27 talks about God’s mandate to the Church concerning a specific group of sheep without a shepherd.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…
Nothing is more pure than caring for an underdog kid without a parent to care for them. This word, orphan, is only found in the New Testament here and in John 14:18 where Jesus tells the disciples that he “will not leave you as orphans” but will give them the Holy Spirit. Jesus ascended into heaven and did not leave us as orphans. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us.
Jesus’ model of compassion included action. What is our model?
Is God’s mandate to care for America’s orphans given to the government or to the Church? The Bible makes it clear that this is the responsibility of God’s people.
Today, there are more orphans in America than ever before. Approximately 800,000 orphans pass through the United States federal database during the average year; 500,000 on any given day. Including homeless kids on their own, kids in sex trafficking, etc., there are more than ONE MILLION underdog orphans in America today!
God is calling the body of Christ to take up compassion in action to care for the orphan as mandated in Scripture.
Prayerfully consider a role God would have you to play.
- Foster parent
- Participate in an orphan ministry
Whatever you do, remember this…it is the model of Jesus and the mandate of the Church to show compassion, not just feel compassion.