Jesus took up this question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. … But when a Samaritan on a journey came upon him, he looked at him and had compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he said, ‘and on my return I will repay you for any additional expense.’Luke 10:30, 33-35
This famous passage is Yeshua’s definition of having compassion on one’s neighbor. True compassion is not just a feeling of sympathy, but it is a sympathy that takes action.
The apostle James, whom many consider to be the brother of Yeshua, drills down even further into the practicality of true faith in the practice of compassion with others:
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?James 2:15-16
Biblical compassion looks outward to others who are in need, beyond the comfort of one’s own personal situation or condition and says, “What can I do to help?”
Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.Galatians 6:2
Paul’s original wording here in his message to the believers in Galatia can be rendered within its Hebraic cultural context as, “In this manner you shall fulfill the Torah of the Messiah.” This aspect of assisting others in need is considered by Paul to be the essence of Yeshua’s teaching, central to everything he stood for and practiced.
If this is the lens through which we should be viewing the life and ministry of Yeshua, then, as his followers, how much more should this same quality be applied in our own lives?