It is common for those who seem to have it all together, to become impatient with those who clearly don’t; for those who don’t seem to have any needs, to see the needy as burdens; for those who are able, to look down on those who aren’t; for those who get it to shake their heads in exasperation at those who don’t.
One of the things that is striking about this chapter is that Jesus, the only One who truly has it all together, overflows with patience and compassion toward those who don’t. Over and over again through this chapter, the tender heart of Jesus breaks through:
- In his words to the paralytic, “take heart, my son…”
- In his persistent movement towards sinners even in the face of criticism and harm to his own reputation.
- In his willingness to be interrupted, take time for, and speak with the woman with the discharge of blood.
- In his gentle touch he heals the two blind men, instead of staying clear of them as somehow cursed.
- In his compassion towards the crowds, viewing them not as an annoyance, but as “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Instead of becoming impatient and telling these people to get their acts together, Jesus moves towards the needy with patience and compassion. Instead of sighing and rolling his eyes at how burdensome they are, he speaks words of encouragement and hope to them.
Consider your own situation for a moment; the chronic pain; the anxiety; your sense of neediness; your weak faith; the relational hurt. Think about the ways you are like the sufferers and sinners Jesus’ encounters in this passage.
Now imagine Jesus relating to you the way he relates to the people in this chapter. Imagine his compassion towards you in your helplessness. Imagine his gentle, healing touch. Imagine his persistent claiming of you as one of his own. Imagine his words, “take heart, my son/daughter.”
Christian, the same Jesus we see in this chapter is alive today. His heart towards sinners and sufferers hasn’t changed. He is full of compassion. He is overflowing with patience. He is, even now, interceding for you.
This is an invitation to come to him with our sin and our brokenness. We don’t need to fear that he will be impatient. We don’t need to pretend we have it all together. We can come to our Savior with our need.