In this sermon, Pastor Neil demonstrates how Jesus showed compassion to others. He challenges to put compassion into action. Here are some excerpts:

When we show compassion to others, whether we think they are deserving or not, we are following the example of Jesus and expressing His heart.

Compassion: The Ernest Gordon Story

Ernest Gordon – perhaps some of you have heard of him – was a Scottish soldier who spent three years as a POW in World War II. He was one of the POWs forced by the Japanese to build the famous “Bridge on the River Kwai.” His book, Through the Valley of the Kwai, was the inspiration for the movie To End All Wars (2002). Through the witness and example of two fellow POWs, Gordon became a Christian in the midst of his captivity and subsequently sensed a call from God to vocational ministry. After the War, he pursued that call, became a Presbyterian pastor, and served nearly 30 years as Dean of the Chapel at Princeton University.

Compassion in Action

On one occasion during his captivity, a truck carrying wounded Japanese soldiers pulled into the prison camp. They had been bombed by Allied planes and had left their posts to seek medical help. As the Allied prisoners lined up to watch, a Japanese captain ran in front of the truck, yelling: “Don’t let that truck in here!” Furious that these soldiers had abandoned their positions, he looked them over with disgust, took out his pistol, and said: “You must leave now! Do not bring these dogs here. Move the truck.” The driver tried to start the truck, but it wouldn’t start. The captain ordered two of his soldiers to check the engine.

As this was happening, Ernest Gordon began walking toward the truck. The Japanese captain told him to stop, but Gordon kept on walking, which was a risky thing to do. From behind him, one of the Scottish officers said: “Captain Gordon, I forbid you to give aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Gordon replied: “Major, those are wounded, dying men. They’re no harm to us.”

“Ernie,” the Major said, “get back to your men.”

Showing the Compassion of Jesus

Gordon shook his head “no” and continued to walk toward the truck. The Japanese captain was startled. Gordon said: “Could someone please get me some water?” No one moved. He said it again: “Could someone please get me some water?” One of the prisoners brought him a bucket of water. Gordon stood in front of the injured soldiers on the truck – wounded Japanese soldiers – and began to tend their wounds. Following his lead, several Allied prisoners stepped forward and approached the truck. The Japanese captain was shocked that these POWs would tend to the wounded Japanese. Stunned, he turned and walked away.

That is compassion in action. That is showing compassion like Jesus. Jesus is in the compassion “business.” Except, for Him, it is not a business. It is a way of life. It was His way of life. And it is to be our way of life. Yours and mine.

Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the message in its entirety.

April 11, 2021

Luke 5:12-16

Dr. Neil Smith

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