Our Compassionate Christ

MEMORY VERSE: “Jesus answering said unto them, They that whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:31,32

LUKE 5:29-32

THE title of this lesson is derived from Jesus’ attitude toward Israelites who had become tax collectors for the Roman government, as well as others who were considered sinners by the pharisaical religionists of the day. And as we shall see, Jesus also showed compassion toward the widow of Nain, whose son he awakened from the sleep of death.

The tax collector in point in the lesson is Levi, otherwise known as Matthew. Jesus called him to be one of his apostles. Levi made a great feast in his house, and invited his friends to come and meet Jesus. To the Jews it was bad enough for Jesus to call Levi to become a follower, but to invite his friends to a feast at which Jesus was the guest of honor was worse. To the scribes and Pharisees—the “good” people of that day known for their supposed piety—it was shameful for Jesus and his disciples to eat and have friendly fellowship with such a motley and unrespected group.

The scribes and Pharisees “murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” Jesus answered, saying, “They that are whole need not a physician: but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

In their hypocrisy the scribes and Pharisees were just as much sinners as the tax collectors and their friends, but Jesus made no reference to this at the time. They claimed to be “good” and righteous, and in his reply Jesus took them at their word, explaining that since they were righteous they did not need him; that it was those they were condemning as sinners who needed help, and that his mission was to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous.

Actually, of course, the scribes and Pharisees had great need of repentance, but they were at the time far from ready to concede this fact. During the “times of restitution,” which will also be the world’s judgment day, they will have an opportunity to hear and obey “that prophet,” and those who do not hear and obey will be “destroyed from among the people.”—Acts 3:23

LUKE 7:11-17

Jesus’ miracles foreshadowed the great work of restoration which will be accomplished during his messianic kingdom reign. His faithful followers will be associated with him in that work—a work which is described by the Apostle Peter as “restitution,” and who said that the “times of restitution” had been foretold by all God’s holy prophets.—Acts 3:19-21

The people who witnessed the awakening from death of the son of the widow of Nain concluded that a great Prophet had risen up among them and that through this Prophet God had visited his people. While, under the influence of their religious leaders, the people of Israel finally rejected Jesus as being the Messiah of promise, when allowed to think for themselves they became impressed by his ministry, and concluded that he had been sent to them by their God.

The devout and studious among the Israelites would have some knowledge of the messianic promises. David had written, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (Ps. 8:4) This promise by God of a “visit” to earth was to be fulfilled through the promised Messiah, who is referred to by Moses as “that Prophet,” and by Isaiah as The Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father.

The miracles performed by Jesus at his first advent were but token fulfillments of the restitution promises, and designed to establish the fact that he was indeed the Promised One, and that together with his church would restore all mankind to life, peace, and happiness. His miracles also revealed that he was a compassionate servant, reflecting in his ministry the abounding love of his Heavenly Father.


In what two ways mentioned in this lesson did Jesus show compassion toward the Israelites?

What was illustrated by the awakening of the son of the widow of Nain from the sleep of death?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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