This series focuses on praying for our Native American brothers and sisters, particularly those living on reservations.
[These devotions come from Jesus Culture's "Faith for Your City" Devotion Series with some alterations]
Need to start at the beginning? Read Week 1 here.
Compassion for Crowds
Read: Matthew 9 & Philippians 1
As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus impacted cities because of his compassion. Just look at how Jesus responded to the people in Matthew 9. He felt compassion for them. He knew they were hurting and lost, and he befriended them and healed them.
Jesus performed miracles to heal the sick and demon-possessed. A woman, who had been bleeding for twelve years, had to merely touch his cloak and was healed (Matthew 9:22). A young girl was raised back to life (Matthew 9:25). A man was released from the demon who had prevented him from speaking (Matthew 9:33). Two blind men recognized the compassion and power pouring out of Jesus and said, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" By faith, they regained their sight (Matthew 9:29). Matthew, himself, experienced Jesus' compassion firsthand when he dined with him and his "sinner" friends.
When questioned by the Pharisees as to why he made friends with sinners, Jesus responded, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’" (Matthew 9:13a) The original Greek, translated here as mercy, means to show pity or compassion toward hurting people. Jesus IS compassion. Not only did he show mercy to the crowds who flocked to him, but his ultimate goal in life was to heal us and save through his death and resurrection.
Similarly, Paul had a deep personal relationship with the people of Philippi. Paul declared his love when he said, "You are always in my heart! And so it is only right for me to feel as I do about you... I tell the truth when I say that my deep feelings for you all come from the heart of Christ Jesus himself." (Philippians 1:7-8)
When Paul wrote this letter, he was in jail and faced with the looming threat of death. He mentions, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. " (Philippians 1: 23-24)
God has given us the longing to spend eternity with Him, but He also called us to spread the good news of Jesus' resurrection. Paul understands that as long as God keeps him on this earth, it is his job to share his joy and God's mercy with others.
Jesus has called us to live our lives like Paul, with compassion and mercy. We must learn what it means to have compassion for Native peoples if we are to impact the reservations the way Jesus impacted the cities. Then, we must act on it.
Jesus, stir my heart with compassion for the broken and hurting Native people on [my reservation/in my city]. Teach me what it means to show "mercy" when I interact with them, so that through me they may see your light and your love. I am so excited to spend eternity with you, and I am just as excited to see [my reservation/city] transformed through your powerful love. Use me to help the Native people.