Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9.35-36
Jesus had come from heaven, became a man and as a man, never sinned, being perfectly righteous in every way. In a word, Jesus was holy. In his complete holiness, he knew the sinfulness of sin. As sinful humans, we can be offended by sin but not in the way Jesus could be offended. He was and is God and He saw sin for what it was and is in the human heart.
And yet, when he looked out over the crowds, he had compassion. The Holy One had compassion as he healed the sick and preached the gospel. It is a good lesson when we grow cynical and hard towards sinners - do we walk in this world with a compassionate heart, weeping for the lost harassed and helpless sheep.
Jesus knew the heights of holiness and the depths of sin and yet he reached out with compassion. We who stand alongside sinners need to show compassion - mercy in action - to sinners. We need to learn to once again view them as Jesus viewed the crowds and then seek to reach out in practical mercy and gospel proclamation. May God take your heart and give you compassion for the lost and boldness to live as Christ in this world.