“FOLLOW ME” The Pathway to Becoming Fishers of Men



    Compassion is defined as:

    Rachum: Hebrew- from the root word meaning “mother’s womb”. It means a yearning of our inward emotions, with  tender love and affection.

    It means: (1) a deep awareness and sympathy of the sufferings of another.  (2) the   humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.

    Splagchnizomai: Greek “bowels of compassion”, to have mercy, to feel sympathy, to have pity, having empathy

    Having one’s heart reach out towards the needs of others

    To be kindhearted, tenderhearted, to be moved with feelings over the pain and suffering of others

    To be sensitive and affectionate


    Genuine compassion is an integral part of agape love. Agape love is a self-sacrificing love that is not fulfilled apart from action. (Love in action, the same love that caused God the Father to send His Son to die for us.) Jesus demonstrated this kind of love on many occasions. As God’s love is perfected in us,we will be moved with compassion by the various difficulties we see experienced by those around us.

    Compassion can be described as a divinely inspired action compelled by:-

    a) True understanding or knowledge

    b) Moral outrage

    c) The capacity to truly identify with the object of one's compassion

    True Understanding:

    To be truly compassionate like Christ, we must understand the nature of man (his sinful and fallen state) and his real need. Sometimes we try to express compassion from two extremes:-

    1. Naivety: lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement, (May cause us to be taken for granted.)
    2. Cynicism: an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. (May prevent us from expressing compassion because we expect the lowest of motives from others.)

    Jesus was completely aware of man’s condition (Jn. 2:24-25), yet He remained open and reached out to the lost around Him.

    • Compassion that is expressed to others does not guarantee thankfulness or gratitude from the recipient. Therefore, it must be expressed out of a heart of obedience to God, trust in God and love for God and others.
    • Jesus was moved with compassion for mankind so He healed the sick, delivered those  oppressed by demons, opened blind eyes and fed thousands, yet it was the recipients of His compassion who crucified Him. (Rom. 5:8, Lk. 23:34)

    Moral Outrage: The Greek word Splagchnizomai, is a very strong word conveying a powerful emotional feeling; it describes more than just pity, it describes an emotion that moves one to the very depth of his being. This Greek word is the same word used to describe: the compassion the forgiving king had for his servant who was unable to pay his debt (Matt.18:27), the compassion that compelled the father to run to his prodigal son to welcome him home (Lk. 15:20), the compassion of the Samaritan who rescued the wounded traveler on the Jericho road (Lk. 10:33).

    The Greek word Splagchnizomai is also used to describe Jesus’ reaction upon: seeing the multitude as sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36)

    • Seeing the leper who came to Him for healing (Mk.1:41)
    • Seeing the two blind men who cried out for mercy (Matt. 20:34)
    • Seeing the bereaved Widow of Nain whose son had died (Lk 7:13)

    True compassion also speaks of a controlled mature anger at the forces of darkness at work that trap men and women in desperate and unfortunate circumstances. The Greek word used to describe this is Embrimaomai, which means to have indignation (anger, annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment). Jesus out of His compassionate nature experienced outrage at the devastating effects of sin. (John 11:33, 38)

    The capacity to truly identify with the object of one's compassion:

    Genuine compassion is able to identify, empathize or bond with the object of its compassion. When God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, and dwelt among us, He also identified with us. (John 1:14a, Isaiah 53:4a) Jesus is depicted as the “Suffering Servant” in Isaiah 52:13-15 and 53; no other “god” is depicted as suffering for mankind.

    Hebrews 4:14-15

    14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For 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.

    Compassion: Motivation for Evangelism

    What motivated Jesus to minister to the lost?

    It was His compassion that  motivated Jesus to minister to those who were lost and in need. He was moved with compassion when He saw people:

    a) weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:35-38)

    b) suffering from diseases, demon possession and hunger (Matt.9:18-33)

    1. A leper- (Mk. 1:40-41)
    2. A demon possessed man (Mk. 5:1-20)
    3. The widow of Nain who had lost her son (Lk. 7:11-15)
    4. The two blind men (Matt. 20:30-34) 

    The Story of The Leper: Mark 1:40-41

    People with leprosy were declared unclean. This meant that they were unfit, not allowed to participate in any religious or social activity. To touch or to have any form of contact with an unclean person made a person unclean as well. However, the bible declares that Jesus touched this leper. Compassion should move us to touch others (Touch: to affect with tender feeling, concern, to have to do with. To lightly stroke, to impact the life of another.) The real value of a person is on the inside, (the heart, the place we cannot readily see) not necessarily the outside. Everyone is valuable to God. No one is beyond His ability to touch them. Compassion should cause us to reach out to everyone, not just those deemed acceptable by society.

    The Demon Possessed Man: Mark 5:1-20

    “5. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.”

    As a ministry that is called to bring deliverance to those who are oppressed and possessed by demons, it is compassion that should move us to intervene in the lives of persons who are suffering in this manner.

    (Verse 18) Jesus’ compassion moved Him to set this man free so that he could go out and set others free through evangelism. This man became a follower of Christ. The ultimate expression of compassion is in the desire to relieve the root cause of suffering (sin); not merely the symptoms of suffering such as pain, distress and hardship. This is achieved through salvation.

    The Widow of Nain: Luke 7:11-15

    This woman was in serious trouble, she had lost her husband and now her only son had died. When Jesus raised this young man from the dead he restored him to his mother. As a ministry, we are called to restore families; compassion is the vehicle that should move us to fulfill this mandate. Jesus’ compassion restored this family; it restored joy to this mother, it restored provision, safety, hope, love. This story illustrates salvation, we were dead in our trespasses and sin and God sent His Son to restore us to life. He has now sent us to present the Gospel that will restore others. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

    The Two Blind Men: Matthew 20:30-34 

    Satan has blinded the eyes of those who are lost and as followers of Christ we are called to restore sight to the blind. (Lk. 4:18; Is. 61:1) Compassion is the motivating force that propels us to serve others. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem where He knew that He would be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and condemned to death. He would be delivered to the Gentiles who would mock, scourge and crucify him, yet when the men cried out to Him, the Bible says Jesus stopped and asked them. “What do you want me to do for you?”  In verse 34, they said “ Lord we want to see!” and so “Jesus had compassion on them” (KJV)


    Jesus saw the spiritual needs of the multitudes and had compassion (Matt. 9:36-38).  Jesus looked at the crowds following Him and referred to them as a field ripe for harvest. Many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would show them how.

    Jesus saw the physical needs of the multitude and gave healing and food  (Matt. 14:14, 19-20). We are called to not only minister to the spiritual needs of others but their physical needs as well. (Clothing, food, shelter etc.) Healing can also refer to emotional/psychological needs.

    Jesus saw the leadership needs of the multitudes and had compassion  (Mark 6:34)Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd that takes care of the sheep. Compassion is a prerequisite to becoming an effective leader. Jesus taught the multitude many things.  Knowledge brings life, freedom and victory over sin. (Prov.10:21, Is.5:13, Hos.4:6)

    Suggestion or Command

    The character quality of compassion is not a suggestion for those who would follow Christ, but rather a command.

    Have compassion for each other: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  (I Peter 3:8; Eph.4:32)

    Clothe yourselves with compassion: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col. 3:12-13) Gal.6:2

    Have compassion and make a difference: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference. (Jude 21-23)

    Character trait: Compassionate

    Opposite trait: Indifference


    • The disposition of dismissal or reluctance toward a particular idea, person, or group, often experienced as a lack of emotion.
    • lack of interest in or concern about something or someone; not caring; apathetic
    • When someone does not care. Maybe lack of care about life, other people or the things of God.
    • A neutral attitude to God that is as dangerous as hostility. It is condemned as a rejection of God’s love and of the needs of others.

    Symptoms: Lack of motivation, pride, lack of involvement in ministry opportunities, selfishness, self-centeredness, service out of duty, empty (meaningless) worship, loss of first love for God and the things of God

    Examples of indifference

    Haggai 1-2

    In 586 B.C., the armies of Babylon destroyed the temple (God’s house the symbol of His Presence) in Jerusalem. In 538 B.C. King Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. So they returned and began the work of rebuilding. However, after a while the people who faced much opposition, forgot their purpose, lost sight of their priorities, became indifferent (apathetic) to the work of rebuilding God’s house and the work came to a standstill. They became more concerned with their own needs and personal interests than doing God’s work. They focused on themselves and building up their own houses while the house of God lay in ruins for more than 10 years. (Haggai 1:1-4)


    The Jews, God’s people, had returned to Jerusalem from exile. The prophet Haggai had persuaded them to rebuild the temple and they started using it to worship the Lord, but after a few years they began to lose interest; they no longer cared for the things of God. They began going through the motions and offered God unworthy sacrifices (Mal. 1:6-8). They gave God the worst instead of their best.

    God’s law required that only perfect animals be offered to God, but the priests were offering blind, crippled, and diseased animals as sacrifices and God was displeased. Romans 12:1-2 speaks about presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to God as our reasonable act of worship. If we give our leftover time, money and energy to God, then we are guilty of the same sins as the Jews in the book of Malachi.

    Spiritual indifference is a sin and can begin when there is no sincere love and worship. God desires sincere obedience, worship and service that comes from love.

    Hosea 6:6 (English Standard Version)

    For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

    What we give to God reflects our true attitude towards Him. (2 Sam.24:24)

    Jesus describes the Pharisees as hypocrites. In the Greek language the word hypocrite means “actor”, “the person who wears a mask”. (Matt.23) They were all about putting on a show but they were spiritually indifferent; uncaring about the suffering of others. It was Jesus’ compassion that moved Him to reach out to the suffering and the lost.

    The Good Samaritan: A story about Compassion and Indifference

    Reference: (Lk. 10:30-37)

    The Wounded Man:

    • Was a Jew. (human being)
    • Suffered much trauma. (abuse of various kinds, sin, generational curses, demonic)
    • Needed help (physical, emotional, spiritual, healing)

    The Priest: (showed indifference)

    • Fellow Jew
    • crossed to the other side (not my responsibility, offer excuses, neglected God’s work)
    • knowledge of the Law (knew the word of God but this did not affect his heart)
    • Was unwilling to get involved. (saw the needs but was too busy, selfish, self-centered)
    • He could not identify with the man’s  suffering. (self-righteous, proud)

    Levite: (showed indifference)

    • Fellow Jew
    • Temple worker (church member, serves in church, some level of involvement)
    • Walked over and looked at the man (curious onlooker; does just enough)


    • Had no dealings with the Jews (strangers, no interest in race, religion or social class)
    • Saw the wounded man and stopped (changed his plans, denied himself, put the wounded man’s needs above his own, willing to give of his time, willing to be inconvenienced)
    • Knelt beside him, bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine (got close, touched him, Touch: to affect with tender feeling, concern, to have to do with. To lightly stroke, to impact the life of another; oil - the anointing, prayer, to soothe; and wine -to disinfect, to cleanse)
    • Put the wounded man on his donkey: willing to be inconvenienced; willing to sacrifice - he would have to walk
    • Took him to an inn and took care of him (willing to provide shelter; sacrifice; Verse 35; “The next day...”: stayed at the inn with him; denied himself
    • Paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay any extra expense (willingly gave of his substance, his possession, his time)

    What can we learn about compassion from these examples?

    Compassion: (1 Jn. 3:16-19a)

    • Demonstrates our relationship with God 
    • Flows out of a pure heart
    • Demands that we deny self
    • Should be extended to all who are in need
    • Requires sacrifice
    • Does not require recognition
    • Important for service to others: evangelism

    What can we learn about indifference?

    • The first sign of indifference/spiritual apathy is neglect of God’s work. When people become more and more concerned with their own personal lives, the work of God suffers. The Priest and Levite should have been involved in the work of evangelism, however they were more concerned about themselves. (Lk.10:31-32) The returned Jews in Haggai’s day were busy building their own houses while the temple lay in ruins (Hag. 1:1-4)
    • God’s people became content with not being involved in the work of God. The Levite was satisfied to just remain an onlooker, on the outskirts, displaying low level of commitment to the work. (Lk.10:31-32)  The temple lay in ruins for 14 years and the people were content to worship in the midst of ruins. (Malachi) 
    • People start making excuses and ignore the needs of others. The priest and Levite crossed over on the other side which was equivalent to saying it was not their responsibility to care for the wounded man. (they were in a hurry or they were afraid to help or…) They were not willing to extend themselves in meeting the needs of the wounded man. The Jews in Haggai 1:2 said “The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built”. A person who has become indifferent will always make excuses to cover their sinful neglect of the work of God. (Lk.14:25-35)


    Self-Centeredness: (concerned solely or chiefly with one's own interests, welfare, etc.; engrossed in self) This is one of the main causes of spiritual indifference. The people were so focused on their own lives that the temple, the house of God was neglected. Their time, energy and resources were devoted to fulfilling their own needs. They became self-centered instead of God-centered. They did not completely abandon the things of God but instead, gave priority to other things and gave God what was left over. (Hag. 1:3-4; Matt.6:33)

    Affluence: Shortly before Moses' death, he warned the children of Israel about the tendency to forget God. (Deut. 6:10-12) Prosperity can dull our spiritual vision because we tend to become self-sufficient and eager to acquire more of everything except God. The same thing can happen in our churche. As the church grows and becomes successful in terms of numbers, property and programs, we can lose our sensitivity to God.

    No fear of God: The Greek noun phobos means “reverential fear” of God, a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. The fear of God is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and awe. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer. (Ps. 119:120; Prov.16:6) The fear of God produces wholehearted obedience, worship and service. (Heb. 12:28-29; Deut. 10:12; Prov.14:27;19:23).Those who are indifferent do not fear God.

    Loss of first love: (Rev. 2:1-5) The church at Ephesus was commended for working hard, patiently enduring hardship, not tolerating evil people and testing the claims of false apostles; however they were criticized for forsaking their first love. The believers had lost their zeal for God and the things of God.

    Consequences of Spiritual Indifference

    Lack and Insufficiency: (Haggai 1:1-11)

    The harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had because they ignored their spiritual lives. The blessing of God was withheld. The same can happen to us. If we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs. If we put Him in any other place, all our efforts will be in vain. Caring only for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God, or the needs of others will lead to ruin.

    Judgement: (Luke 16:19-25)

    The rich man did not go to hell because of his wealth, but because he was selfish (indifferent). He refused to feed Lazarus, take him in or care for him. He chose to neglect Lazarus’ needs. 

    Death: Spiritual/Physical (Leviticus 10:1-2) Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s sons, born in Egypt, they were eyewitnesses of God’s mighty acts of the Exodus. They had first hand knowledge of God’s holiness. For a while they followed God wholeheartedly (Lev. 8:36) but at a critical moment they chose to treat with indifference the clear instructions from God. The consequence of their indifference was death. There must be a proper fear of God and a recognition of His great holiness.

    Overcoming Indifference

    1. Remember the things you used to do. (Rev.2:5a) What were the things you used to do when you had a passion and zeal for God.
    2. Repentance: (Rev. 2:5; 3:15-19) Recognize indifference as sin and turn away from it.
    3. Renew your commitment to God.
    4. Engage in personal study of the Word of God. (2 Tim.2:15 KJV; Prov.3:1-4; 2 Tim. 3:16 NLT)
    5. Be a doer  of the word not just a hearer. (James1:22)
    6. Engage in persistent, fervent prayer and consistent fasting. (Matt. 17:21; James 5:15-16)
    7. Become involved in ministry and service to others. (Heb. 6:10; Gal.5:13; 1 Sam. 12:24, Rom. 12:11)
    8. Fellowship with other believers. (Heb.10:24-25)


    Focus on our great debt to God: The wicked servant who was forgiven a huge debt did not have the same kind of compassion on his fellow servant who owed him a small debt. Remember the grace God has so freely extended to us and do likewise (extend unmerited favor to others).

    Channel personal suffering into compassion for others. Do not shut up your “bowels of compassion” when faced with the suffering of others. Do not become impatient or frustrated but comfort others with the same comfort you have received. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

    Look for ways to do good to all people. (Gal.6:10; Matt.25:31-46)

    Prayer points

    Repent : Ask God to forgive you for:

    • the sin of indifference, for failing to have Godly compassion toward others.
    • condemning and judging instead of showing mercy and compassion.
    • not having a reverential  fear of the Lord
    • not extending the same grace to others that He has shown to you
    • the sin of idolatry, valuing things, possessions, people, self, personal needs and desires above the Almighty God
    • not being wholeheartedly involved in the work of God (service to others, evangelism)
    • murmuring and complaining when asked to serve
    • renew your commitment to God, asking Him to help you to return to your first love for Him.
    • ask God to restore zeal for the things of God
    • pray as you are led; give thanks for answered prayer.


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