In the weeks before I left for vacation, I wrote three devotionals on how Jesus feels about lost people. I may or may not have succeeded at this, but what I was trying to do was press us to think beyond the mere commandment to share the good news with those who don’t know Jesus and tap into the inner motives of the God who saved us.
God sent Jesus into the world because he “so loved the world” and he’s infinitely “rich in mercy” (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4). God Almighty was moved from the heart to send his only begotten Son. He was not heartlessly working out the details of a plan he had concocted, rather, he was overflowing with the love and mercy that characterizes his soul.
When Jesus looked upon the crowds that gathered wherever he went, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus didn’t touch people’s lives because he was supposed to do so but because he was moved from the heart to do so. Jesus felt. He deeply desired to seek and save the lost. He deeply desired to lay down his life for his friends.
When Jesus rises to judge the nations of the world, he will separate us into two camps: those who had compassion on the lost and the “least of these” and those who did not. To those who had compassion Jesus will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To those who did not have compassion Jesus will say, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:31-46).
It’s not that the pursuit of the lost and the least will save those who did so but rather that it will display their heart. It will prove the fact that they shared in the heart of their Master, that they, like him, were moved when looked upon the lost and the least. Jesus felt and those who love him will feel, too.
So developing a lifestyle of sharing the good news is all about sharing in the heart of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. We must do the right thing, that’s for sure. But first we must learn to feel the right thing. We must press into our motives and pray for the grace to align them with the motives of God. Lasting joy in sharing the gospel stems from sharing in the heart of our Father.
Next week I plan to write a devotional on believing what we believe about things such as the glory of God, the horror of sin and hell, and the joy of salvation and heaven. But for now I want to encourage us once more to pursue the heart of our Father and ask him for the grace to share in it.
Longing with you to feel as Jesus feels,Pastor Charlie