Approaching Bible Reading with Depth and Embracing Jesus’ Compassionate Ministry
I don’t know how you read the Bible. When I’m working on a sermon, a book, or even a blog post, I might dig deep to make sure I understand any cultural or historical implications. But for my daily Bible reading time at the beginning of each day, I have a very specific habit. I will read just one chapter and then write down what God said to me in that passage. Then I will write down my response to Him. This started as something I had to do as part of my schooling for counseling. I’ve kept a spreadsheet with these entries for years.
Capturing the Details: A Singular Focus
The reason for only reading one chapter and then recording what God said to me is to make sure that I am not missing anything. When we just sit and read, it’s too easy to gloss over and stop catching all the fine details. We usually get the overall gist, but there are beautiful nuggets that are easy to miss.
Returning to the New Testament: The Book of Mark
I’d been reading the Old Testament for a while. It was time to switch back to the New Testament for a bit, and I picked the Book of Mark. In Mark chapter 5, there are three specific miracles that Jesus performs. One is not even in Israel nor for Israelites. He casts a legion of demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. It’s easy to forget that He ministered to Gentiles.
Journeying with Compassion: Healing the Afflicted
After that, He is heading to the home of a synagogue official named Jairus, as the man’s daughter is very ill. On the way there, he feels power flow from Him and looks around, asking who touched Him. A woman who would have been considered unclean due to the nature of her malady comes forward and nervously admits that she touched Him.
A Touch of Healing: A Touch of Faith
He looked down at the woman who was trembling as she bowed to the ground before Him. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)
A Glimpse of Christ’s Compassion
I knew all of this. I’m very familiar with the chapter. But using my method of reading the Bible, I was reminded of the incredible compassion of Christ. Discussing the man born blind as told in John 9, Matthew Henry made the point that Jesus saw people. He saw them as they were and cared for them as they were. Henry wrote about how Jesus would see someone through a crowd and go to them.
Embracing Jesus’ Compassionate Ministry: A Source of Strength
His compassion is amazing. It was amazing two thousand years ago when He emptied Himself to become like sinful flesh (Phil 2:6-7) and is amazing today. I encourage you to feel the amazing compassion of the Lord and bask in it. Accept His compassion and let it wash away self-loathing and all the excuses for feeling worthless. As we do that, we have more ability to share His compassion with a needy world.