Compassion – Based on The Gospel of John
Written by Rhonda Altsott


In John Chapter 9, we find the disciples asking Jesus whose sin was responsible for a man that had been born blind; was it his sin or his parents’? It was an accepted Judaic belief that those born with a physical disability was the result of sin. Jesus told his disciples that neither party was responsible for this man’s blindness and instead said it “was so that the works of God would be displayed in him”. Jesus proclaimed himself the light of the world before he spat, made a clay, put it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man came back seeing. This was a true Messianic Miracle. 


People noticed and before you know it, the man was brought before the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees. Some of the Pharisees were not happy because Jesus had performed this miracle on the Sabbath. It wasn’t just any Sabbath, but the Sabbath of the Feast of Tabernacles making it a High and Holy Sabbath. Some questioned how a man, who was a sinner, could perform such a miracle. There was a division among them.


They went on to question the man’s parents, asking if he had really been born blind. His parents were afraid to answer truthfully as it was known that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of synagogue. They deferred back to their grown son. The Pharisees, not liking his first answers, asked him the questions again. The man gave Jesus credit again for giving him his eyesight. The Pharisees, not getting the answers they wanted, put the man out of the synagogue. They could not believe that a man who broke the Sabbath, could be working on behalf of God. Jesus had told the Pharisees who He was with His words. The majority did not believe Him. Now Jesus showed them who He was and they could not get over Jesus healing on the Sabbath and instead of rejoicing in the miracle of restored vision, kicked the healed man out of the synagogue. The religious leaders also began working on a way to stop Jesus.


Several points about the Pharisees I want to point out:

*They were the religious leaders of the day, the keepers of the Mosaic Law.

*They believed they were doing the will of God.

*They knew the scriptures.

*They missed the Messianic Miracle.

*They began to plot to kill Jesus, as well as Lazarus, after Jesus brought Lazarus back to life,   (John Chapters 11/12).


With all the religious accolades the Pharisees had, with all the knowledge of the law and the Holy Scripture, they missed Jesus. They missed He was the Christ, the one sent from God. It seems like with all their religious practices, they leaned heavy on tradition and missed the Messiah. In contrast, Jesus over and over displayed compassion and displayed the works of His Father in healing the broken and wounded of His day, even if it happened on the Sabbath.  Pastor Wayne Barber, who has gone home to be with the Lord, said of the Pharisees, “Their traditional religion killed their capacity for compassion”. My prayer is that never happens to us.



* There are 145 occurrences of the word compassion in both the Old and New Testaments.  Here is one of my favorites:

Ephesians 4:32. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. 

Not surprising, it’s from Paul’s letter on Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ.

4 Responses to “Compassion”

  1. Bonita Cadle says:

    Beautiful and wise.
    Thank you!

  2. Aafke Garlock says:

    Once again you help me hear God’s wisdom. May I never be so caught up in my religion that I miss Jesus.

  3. Melanie Riddle says:

    Thank you, Rhonda, for this Biblical reminder.
    May we , as members of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, be loving, forgiving, kind, and spiritual in our daily lives.
    Your blog was beautifully written and shares how we need to live our lives.

  4. Anna Martinez says:

    Such a timely message and so needed.

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