The Power of Compassion!

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’

John 21: 17 

 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:16-21
In the interview that was part of our online service last Sunday you will have seen me asking my friend Caroline about the courage that I have seen her exercise on Sutton High Street in her role as a Street Pastor.  She approaches even the most challenging people with a warmth and friendliness that often leads to praying with them. What is most interesting about Caroline’s interview is that when I asked her about courage, she responded by talking about compassion.  It is clear that the love God has given her for the people she meets sweeps aside any fear that might otherwise cause her to walk past and ignore their need.

In the same way, it is easy to be impressed by the boldness that Peter and John exercised in praying for the beggar in Acts 3 and miss the compassion that caused them to stop to speak to him in the first place.

Peter must have carried huge guilt after his shameful denial of Jesus and as a result he was in no fit state to help those that he was called to care for (Matthew 26:71-75). Jesus did not restore him by telling him to “man up” but by calling out love in him (John 21:17).

It is the experience of being loved by Jesus and loving him in return that drives out fear, guilt and indifference. It is also our most powerful motivation for godly living and our strongest defence against sin. In Acts 4:13, the religious leaders knew that the transformation of Peter and John had something to do with the fact that they had been with Jesus but that is as far as they got. In a letter written to other disciples later in his life, John fully explained what it was about being with Jesus that really made the difference; “We love because he first loved us”. (1 John 4:19)
  1. Spend some time meditating on the love that Jesus has for you. As this sinks in, begin to express the love that you have for him.
  2. Instead of simply praying for courage to share your faith with your friends, why not also ask Jesus to give you greater love for them? Spend time praying for your friends.
  3. If you would like to know more about Street Pastors, please visit streetpastors.org
Father God, I renounce the lie that you do not really love me and that your love has to be earned by my efforts. I joyfully announce the truth that, as your child, you love me fully and completely right now. I ask you to lead me deeper and deeper into the experience of your love and to help me to be an open channel through which your love flows out to the world around me. Thank you that you are delighted to be with me right now and that you will never leave me. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by David Featherstone, who leads our Sutton venue.

If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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