Deep Compassion

The Prayer of the Day for Sunday, cites the “deep compassion” with which Jesus “rescues us from whatever may hurt us.”

Christ’s deep compassion in the NT is often expressed using the word splangxnizomai, as when in Mark 6 he was overwhelmed by people in need coming and going, so he and his disciples didn’t have time to eat or rest.  He tried to go to a quiet place, but the crowd followed him.  He didn’t send them away, but felt sorry for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  They were people who didn’t know which way to turn and had no one to lead them.  So, despite being overwhelmed, he taught them.  Then at the end of the day he fed them.  He gave them what they needed.  These were Jewish people.  In chapter 8, he is among Gentiles on the east side of the Sea of Galilee.  He has splangxnizomai for them and feeds four thousand.  In the parable of the Waiting Father, the rebellious and unappreciative son has depleted all his resources including his self-respect.  He heads for home and we discover that the father has been out waiting at the end of the driveway all the time looking for his son’s return.  When he spots his undeserving son a long way off, he runs out to him and hugs him and welcomes him home and throws a banquet for him.

Splangxnizomai literally means Jesus, innards, his intestines went out to people who were lost and didn’t know where to find help.  If you try to pronounce the word, it sounds like one’s innards literally going outside the body, splat, splash, splang.  When Jesus says the way to express your love for God is by loving your neighbor or being a neighbor to someone, anyone in need, there  is no mental gymnastics which can give us an excuse for not having the same attitude as the one we claim as our Lord and Savior.  If anyone thinks they can manage such an escape, they are only fooling themselves.

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