Prayer for the day
Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; let your Gospel be preached with grace and power to those who have not heard it; turn the hearts of those who resist it; and bring home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Scripture for the day
“He could bear Israel’s misery no longer.”
As a father, it’s hard to watch my children in pain. Even when that pain comes from discipline. It causes me pain, and a great desire to alleviate that pain in whatever way I can.
God seems to have a similar fatherly feeling toward his people. Even when God punishes his children for what they’ve done, when they cry out to him, he responds with pity and compassion. The Israelites were constantly disappointing God and God was so regularly forced to discipline his children, yet it hurt God to see his children being disciplined. Even when God knew why he was doing what he was doing, and the outcome.
Jesus has similar compassion on people who are hurting. We see the paralyzed man who, while not in pain, is certainly hurting. His entire life has been interrupted, made incredibly difficult. Jesus sees him, and instead of healing him right away, Jesus heals the deeper pain in the man’s life, the pain of sin. When that pain is dealt with, Jesus heals the man’s paralyzed body as well.
God loves his children, and in both of these cases, God cannot bear to see his children hurting, separated from the purpose and desire he has for them. God intervenes in beautiful ways to bring his children to himself.