Monday, August 29, 2016

Incarnation Breeds Sympathy; Discarnation Breeds Criticism

Linda walking in Munson Park

The Jesus story begins with incarnation, the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. The ternal Son gets into us so that we might enter into him.

When you get inside someone else's skin and live and die there you feel with them. Incarnation breeds sympathy.

Sym + pathos. "Feeling with." Hebrews 4:15 tells us that we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 

The biblical Greek word here is:
συμπαθέω,v  \{soom-path-eh'-o}
1) to be affected with the same feeling as another, to sympathise with  2) to feel for, have compassion on 

In Mark 6:34 Jesus saw a large crowd of people and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. The Greek word here means "deeply moved."

Jesus felt with people in their struggles and disorientation. Which means: so should we who follow him. We are to...

... "clothe ourselves with compassion" (Colossians 3:12).

... "be kind and compassionate to one another" (Ephesians 4:32).

... "be compassionate and humble" (1 Peter 3:8).

Because "the Lord is full of compassion and mercy." (James 5:11).

Since we are "united with Christ" we share in his "tenderness and compassion." (Philippians 2:1)

Compassion and sympathy are beautiful fruits that grow in a Christ-abiding heart. The more we are like Christ the less we will criticize others. The more Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19) the less we will judge others for their struggles. Incarnation breeds sympathy; discarnation breeds criticism.

Thank God that he sympathizes with our weaknesses! Thank God for his followers who have matured to do the same.