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The Incarnation of Compassion

As we begin the new year, Brennan Manning once again has a wonderful word.

The numerous physical healings performed by Jesus to alleviate human suffering are only a hint of the anguish in the heart of God’s Son for wounded humanity. His compassion surges from the bowels of his being and operates on a level that escapes human imitation. Jesus resonated with the depths of human sorrow. He became lost with the lost, hungry with the hungry, and thirsty with the thirsty. On the cross he journeyed to the far reaches of loneliness so that he could be lonely with those who are lonely and rob loneliness of its killing power by sharing it himself.

He did then and he does now. Jesus vibrates to the hope and fear, the celebrations and desolations of each of us. He is the incarnation of the compassion of the Father. The fifteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart wrote, “You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion.” When we speak of Jesus Christ as Emmanuel, God with us, we are saying that the greatest lover in history knows what hurts us. Jesus reveals a God who is not indifferent to human agony, a God who fully embraces the human condition and plunges into the thick of our human struggle.[1]

Evangelism is showing and sharing the love of Jesus. If our God plunges into the thick of the human struggle, then to show and share the love of Jesus we must do so as well – becoming lost with the lost, and journeying to the far reaches of loneliness to rob it of its killing power.


[1] Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p2.