What Moves Jesus to Action

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Most Christians living today would like to think that, like Jesus, they are “moved with compassion.” During his time on earth, Jesus was the embodiment of God’s compassion. Scripture frequently says that Christ was “moved with compassion” by the suffering of people. And if that was the case in the first century, what great grief there must be now in our Lord’s heart.

The Bible tells us, “His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).

Compassion is more than just pity or sympathy; it is more than being moved to tears or stirred up emotionally. And it is more than speaking out about the evil behind horrible crimes. Compassion means pity and mercy accompanied by a desire to help change things. Truly compassionate feelings move us to do something.

This is illustrated by the compassion Jesus showed in the Gospels. At one point he departed into the wilderness to pray. When the multitudes discovered his whereabouts, they followed him and in desperation, they brought him their lame, blind, dying, and demon-possessed. And what did Jesus do? The Bible tells us, “When Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). That is an example of compassion!

Had Jesus been hampered by our modern thinking, he might have gathered his disciples for a committee meeting or tried to analyze the problems. Or he could have said, “I’m very tired and I need to talk to my Father. I feel your pain and the disciples and I will pray for you. Now, go in peace.”

But Jesus did more than talk. His feelings of pity and sympathy moved him into action. He said, “I’ll do all I can to make a difference.”

Let us be careful not to allow our hearts to become callous and inured to the needs of those around us.

The Father Has Been Revealed

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

In the Old Testament, the children of God had just a glimpse of God as their Father. David said, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13). Isaiah called God “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6), and Jeremiah wrote of him, “You shall call me, ‘My Father’” (Jeremiah 3:19).

But these ancients did not have the full revelation of the heavenly Father. Jesus himself said, “The prophets longed to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they could not.” Those in Old Testament times knew Jehovah by all the names he had revealed to them, but he had not revealed himself to them as Father. That revelation could not come until the Son revealed him. Jesus said, “Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27).

Christ has come to reveal the Father to this last generation in a way no other generation has ever known him. Everything Jesus did — from turning the water into wine to raising the dead — was like an illustrated sermon. His every act was meant to say, “This is my Father’s work; this is what he is like.”

“I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me” (John 8:28-29). In other words, I have spoken freely all through this land and when I walked the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Judea, I told you time after time that everything I do is of the Father. If only you had opened yours eyes and ears and accepted my word, I would have shown him to you. He has been revealed!”

When we have a revelation of our heavenly Father — his love, his mercy, his grace — we are able to say to the world, “Listen to what I say and do. Watch my life and see the Father in me!”

Because an Empty Man Encountered Jesus

Gary Wilkerson

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth …  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise … to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God … so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Paul or Saul, as he was known before his conversion, certainly had a lot he could boast about in the natural. Highly intelligent, he was a natural leader and possessed many abilities. Born into a devout Jewish family, while he was still fairly young he was sent to Jerusalem to receive his education at the school of Gamaliel, one of the most renowned rabbis in history (see Acts 22:3). This school was noted for providing its students a balanced education, likely giving Paul broad exposure to classical literature, philosophy, and ethics.

But Paul was a violent, empty man until his encounter with Jesus. He had been trying to accomplish what he considered God’s purposes through human wisdom and effort, using his own power and understanding. When he met the living Christ and received the revelation of the truth, Jesus made it clear to him who he had been persecuting. After a few days of blindness and time to think of what he had been told, Paul was ready to learn the truth about this Jesus he had so hated in ignorance. He could say with great confidence, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Proud Saul became humble Paul. He spoke in the love of Jesus Christ with a wisdom not his own. He just wanted people to know Jesus. The same should be true of us today as we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and his great love for those around us.

God Has Never Failed His People

Carter Conlon

According to the book of Hebrews, each of us ought to “recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings” (Hebrews 10:32). Remind yourself how faithful God has been — how he brought you through all your former struggles and trials. When you first came to Christ, perhaps your entire family thought you were crazy; your former friends did not want to hang out with you anymore. People would accuse you in the workplace simply because you chose to do what was right. And now, once again, you are facing a brunt of accusation on all sides. This is why it is important to recall how God showed himself strong and brought you through in the past. He did not fail you, did he? Neither will he fail you in the days ahead.

The writer of Hebrews says, “For you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods” (Hebrews 10:34). Many of these believers had not yet personally suffered, but they were well aware that others who had gone before them had suffered. When it says that they “accepted the plundering of their goods,” it means they were laying down their own plans and dreams — all their ideas about how their lives should work out. Instead, they were willing to embrace the plan of God for their lives, knowing it would likely entail a measure of suffering.

The verse goes on to say, “Knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (10:34). This is essentially another way to be prepared for a time of suffering. No matter what we have to go through, it will be worth it in the end. Remember, we are fighting for something eternal — not just for ourselves, but for others. We are fighting so that we will have something to leave for the generation coming after us. 

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.

Finding Rest for a Weary Soul

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Jesus came to earth as a man to redeem humankind from our sins and every kind of bondage. But he also came to earth for the purpose of revealing to us the heavenly Father.

He told his disciples, “The Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). He also said, “I can of Myself do nothing … I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). And then he said, “I go to My Father” (John 14:12).

Jesus was saying three things: “I came from the Father. While I am here, I will do only his will. Soon I will go back to the Father.” Jesus’ entire life — his coming to earth, his purpose while here, and his return to heaven — was about revealing the heavenly Father.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “Watch my life, my ministry, all the miracles and good works I do, and you will see the heavenly Father. Everything I do is a reflection of who he is and it is all meant to reveal him to you.”

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27).

Jesus is saying that it is impossible for us to know who the Father is unless Jesus reveals him to us. Significantly, he adds in the very next verse: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (11:28).

Jesus is showing us that if we want rest for our soul, an end to inner striving, we must have a revelation of who the Father is. You must know that you have a Father in heaven who cares about you! No one receives this revelation apart from Christ and in everything he does and says, he is showing us the heart of the Father.