The Tender Pity of Jesus toward Sinners Like Us

Yesterday, I was reading about the tenderness of the Lord Jesus in A Puritan Theology. The particular Puritan, whose writings were the basis of the chapter, is Thomas Goodwin. Goodwin (1600-1680) was an English Puritan theologian and preacher who also served as chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. One of the treatises for which he was well known was the book entitled The Heart of Christ in Heaven toward Sinners on Earth. In this book, Goodwin “asserted from the Holy Scriptures that Christ feels strong affections, deep compassion, and emotional sympathy toward His suffering people even while seated at God’s right hand.”

Arguing from Hebrews 5:2, “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since He himself is beset with weakness,” the Puritan was convinced that “even our foolishness and sinful choices awaken Christ’s compassion. Goodwin drives his point home with a bold comparison. He writes to believers: ‘Your very sins move him to pity more than to anger…even as the heart of a father is to a child that hath some loathsome disease, or as one is to a member of his body that hath the leprosy, he hates not the member, for it is his flesh, but the disease, and that provokes him to pity the part affected the more.’ If your child becomes very sick, you do not kick the child out; you weep with him and tend to his needs. Christ responds to our sins with compassion despite His abhorrence of them.”

Later, the authors continue, “Today in heaven, Jesus in His human nature knows everything that happens to believers on earth. Jesus says to His church in Revelation 2:2, ‘I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience.’ This is possible because Christ’s human nature is filled with the Holy Spirit beyond measure, and the Spirit is like Christ’s eyes in all the earth (Rev. 5:6). Knowing our distress, He remembers how He felt when facing similar miseries. Christ even knows the experience of sin’s guilt and the horror of facing Christ’s wrath against sin. Although personally sinless, Christ bore all the sins of His people. His knowledge of our pain along with the memory of His pain moves His heart to overflow with compassion.”

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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