In the previous discussions about ways in which Jesus showed love to His disciples, I covered forgiveness and compassion. This time I will discuss how Jesus showed love through caring. To look at first glance, you might say to yourself that this is the same as compassion. However, where compassion is a deep, heart felt, gut level sympathizing for another person’s situation; caring is the act of tending to a person’s need. It is true hospitality at the core. Peter made it known that Jesus was one in whom we could freely cast our cares upon, because He cares for us (See 1 Peter 5:7). Peter knew this with certainty because he showed it repeatedly through that three and a half year ministry.
It was because Jesus cared about the crowds, that He could not in good conscious send the away hungry, after they had followed Him from their own cities, even after he had crossed the waters by boat. Knowing that they had traversed the heat of the day, miles of unpaved roads, listened intently as He taught, and watched as He healed; He was compelled to make sure when they left, the were full, not wanton for anything; even food (See Matthew 14:13-19).
It was also because Jesus cared for others, that He healed the sick and raised the dead. Even when it wasn’t someone He was immediately called to, He cared enough that their need was met. When a Gentile woman came before Him and begged that He help her and her demon possessed daughter, He challenged her faith, not because He wanted to keep her from what she sought, but to show her intense faith to the others who were with Him. (See Matthew 15:22-29)
Jesus even cared enough to restore or make restitution. Look back at the story of the 5000 who were fed. He did not stop at just feeding those people, He made sure that the boy whose fish and bread had been borrowed did not go back empty handed. That young boy went home with twelve baskets full of what was left over after all had been fed. It wasn’t just given back. It was multiplied back to Him exponentially.
What I love about Jesus and the fact that He cares, is that even in a matter that was really not a matter for Him to handle, he permitted himself enough to care that another person’s dignity was not lost. In John Chapter 2 we find Jesus, not long after have chosen the first of His disciples and His mother attending a wedding feast. It was at this feast that His mother became aware of the fact that the wine had run out. Although it wasn’t Jesus’ responsibility, Mary encourages Him to restore the dignity of the family by making sure that they never faced the shame of running out of wine. In that day, it was a great shame to run out of wine. So when Jesus turned that water to wine and they tasted it, marveling how it tasted better than the wine that had been served first, he not only saved his reputation, He increased it with favor.
I think that when Paul writes to the Galatians, he took a page out of Jesus’ life when he tells them to restore into fellowship anyone who has been caught in transgression or trespass (See Galatians 6:1-2). I’m sure he had heard the story about the woman caught in adultery (See John 8:1-11). The Pharisees sought to trip up Jesus by bringing before Him this woman. While Jesus was the only one among them who was sinless and could rightfully have cast stones at her when He made His declaration before them, He did not. He neither condemned her, nor shunned her. He instead sends her away, restored in fellowship.
There are so many in the world, and even in out own back yards who are hurting, hungry and in need of restoration. It is up to us who are His disciples to show the same care for them, as did Jesus to those who needed it then. We do it every day when we see beyond ourselves to tend to the needs of those that God puts before us.
It wasn’t long after my wife and I had married that a friend of mine was himself getting married. In fact, his wedding day was on the anniversary that my wife and I had met. Upon leaving this wedding, on a hot August day I might add, we walked along the harbor to go back to our car. Oh, did I mention that my wife was pregnant at the time and nearly due? As we walked, a man stopped us and talked with us. We could have taken it as an imposition to our day, but something spoke to us that he was in need of a caring soul to hear him. We listened, and afterwards we prayed with and for him. I believe in that moment he had what he needed to reestablish his relationship with his family. He stay in contact with me for several months after that, and he always sounded grateful for that brief moment.
How many more are there out there who are seeking someone to care about them, to care for them? How many would love to have their dignity restored. It’s not an easy thing to admit that you’re jobless, homeless, childless, Godless, friendless, or helpless on almost any level. We must be willing to look on others and see them, not turning away. We must be willing to say as Peter and John did, “Look on us…. such as I have, give I thee (See Acts 3:1-6).” As present day disciples, we can show love by caring for one another; not just those who love us in return or can give us love in return, but to even those who haven’t the capacity for it. It is in this that we truly show how deeply we care.
QUESTIONS: What ways have you shown care for others? What ways can you care for someone that you haven’t done before? Are you yourself in place where you are in need of care?