Jesus — pro-life for the poor
“Did you enjoy yourself today?” I asked the woman and her
young daughter as they left the Convoy of Hope outreach.
The young girl smiled as she raised a balloon in one hand
and a candy cane in the other.
“We’ve never been treated with such kindness,” the mother
said, her arm around her daughter.
“Do you live in this area?” I asked. I wanted to be sure
someone could follow up with further help.
They pointed in the direction of a neighborhood close by.
“We live over there,” the woman said.
“In the neighborhood behind the church?”
“No,” the mother said a little more cautiously. Then, “Let
me show you.”
They led me toward a dumpster and a broken-down bus behind
As they approached the dumpster, the young girl pointed.
“There,” she said innocently. “We live there.”
My heart collapsed when I looked behind the dumpster and saw
a makeshift shelter of plywood and cardboard.
I was incredulous. “You live here?”
They both nodded.
Jesus commanded us to “care for the least of these,” but we
have to admit some Christians have cared the least. This has left a gaping hole
in their mission and forfeiture of God’s blessings. Moreover, some Christians
appear to be only focused on one issue — abortion. Hopefully, these
believers will expand what it means to be pro-life to protect the child in the
womb and save the child in the slums.
Jesus was pro-life for the poor. His whole life and ministry
demonstrated compassion to His local community that would ripple throughout the
world. His “Nazareth Declaration” announced His strategic plan at the very
outset of His public ministry. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Jesus positioned
himself as the fulfillment of God’s desire to reach the outcasts of humanity:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the
prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19, NIV).
The expression “to be moved with compassion” appears 12
times in the Gospels and is used exclusively in relation to Jesus and His
Father in heaven. When Jesus saw the crowds harassed and dejected like sheep
without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36), He experienced their pain and lostness in
His own being.
Jesus’ compassion was revolutionary because it addressed
both the spiritual roots and social consequences of people’s problems. The
outcasts of His day were banished, yet He invited them to touch Him. The
religious leaders cast judgment, but Jesus declared forgiveness for those
tormented by guilt. Those oppressed by evil spirits were bound, yet Jesus
proclaimed their liberty. While Jesus’ followers cared for the sick and lame,
He chose to heal them. When His disciples couldn’t see past “spiritual
matters,” Jesus saw a hungry multitude and fed them. Jesus was a Compassion
Revolutionary, and you can be one too!
Adapted from Compassion Revolution by Dave Donaldson
(Harvest House Publishers), due for release January 2010
DAVE DONALDSON is co-founder of Convoy of Hope.
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