Evangelism Is… Empathy with Action, Part 2 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #90)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Ephesians 4:32 which reads: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this Scripture from David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible:

The new man seeks to show the same kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness to others that God shows him. If we treat others as God treats us, we fulfill everything Paul told us to do in this chapter.

Our forgiveness to others is patterned after the forgiveness of Jesus towards us. When we think of the amazing way God forgives us, it is shameful for us to withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged us.

Our soul winning quote today is from D. L. Moody. He said: “There is no use trying to do church work without love. A doctor, a lawyer, may do good work without love, but God’s work cannot be done without love.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 73 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Empathy with Action (Part 2)

Empathy Was Needed
In John 11:1-44 we discover an example of empathy in action. The story begins as Jesus hears the news that a dear friend, Lazarus, has fallen sick. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus because they knew He could heal their brother. Martha met Jesus when He arrived. She was mourning the loss of her brother Lazarus who had died a few days earlier.

Jesus already knew about Lazarus’ death. He asked to see Mary so that He could pay His respects. When she came out to meet Him, many others from the city followed. It was a Jewish custom to go to the home and mourn with those who had lost someone to death. When Jesus saw Mary weeping, He was deeply moved.

John 11:33-36 reads, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”

“Jesus wept” is often quoted and pushed aside as the Bible’s shortest verse. But how incredible is it that God used two simple words to reveal the heart of Christ. Within these two words is more emotion, love, and compassion than contained in some novels. True to form, Jesus takes something small and seemingly insignificant to teach an amazing lesson. He leads by example, instructing us that empathy, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, is essential to effective ministry.

Some may say Jesus was mourning the loss of His friend. That is only partially true. According to John 11:13-15, Jesus, being God, already knew Lazarus was dead. He was not caught off guard by the news of his friend’s death. Instead, He was moved by the emotion of Lazarus’ sisters and friends and felt their pain enough to draw tears. His tears were not a reflection of sadness and loss, but rather a way to relate and communicate to those who were with Him.

The Bible does not tell us how Mary and Martha responded to Jesus’ empathy, but it does tell us that others were witnesses of His love for Lazarus. Seeing Him get on Mary and Martha’s level and experience their pain made an impact on the lives of those around Him.

Throughout the story, Mary and Martha never lose touch of the fact the Jesus is Lord and can do all things. They knew of His awesome power but for a moment were blessed to see His authentic expression of emotion and love.

In our next broadcast, we will continue looking at why evangelism is…Empathy with Action.

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