Living compassionately in an evil world is exactly the way that true
peacemaking children of God live.
In their efforts to be living compassionately, these children of God do everything in their power to help free creation from its present corruption.
When we see people eating animal products, we know they are not living compassionately.
When people show indifference to the suffering of animals, we know that they are not living compassionately.
When we see the warring madness, terrorism, and killing in the world, we know that these people are not living compassionately.
When we see corruption, injustice, and indifference in our governments and industries, we know that those people are not living compassionately, for they are part of this evil world.
Living compassionately in an evil world is something Jesus did and taught as an example for us of how we should be living.
With this in mind, letís take a look at Mark 6:30-56Ö
30. And the apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.
Jesus had sent the apostles out into the evil and ungodly world to help those in need, and to show the people that they could also be living compassionately.
31. And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)
Most people seemed to want whatever they could get from Jesus and were not concerned about the welfare of Jesus and the apostles; they were not really living compassionately.
32. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
A lonely place is a way of describing a place where they could be alone without all the people crowding around them, but even that didnít stop the people from seeking what they wanted for themselves.
33. And the people saw them going, and many recognized them, and they ran
there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them.
34. And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
Even though most of the people werenít living compassionately, and didnít
seem to care about Jesus, He still had compassion for them, which is the way
we should all be living.
The people werenít loving their neighbors as themselves, and instead were putting their best interests ahead of their neighbors.
Putting the interests and welfare of others ahead of ourselves is necessary if we are fulfilling the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.
35. And when it was already quite late, His disciples came up to Him and
began saying, "The place is desolate and it is already quite late;
36. send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
37. But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?"
Even the apostles didnít fully understand who Jesus was, and from the way
that they questioned Jesus, we can see that they were not fully living
compassionately, but note carefully that their only suggestions were feeding
the people only plant foods, which does show that they understood about
living compassionately in an evil world.
Note how Jesus responds.
38. And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they said, "Five and two fish."
Jesus only asked about loaves, but they added the remains of once living
animals, which shows that they were not living completely compassionately,
and still had a lot of conflicting things going on in their lives.
But Jesus goes on showing the people about living compassionately.
39. And He commanded them all to recline by groups on the green grass.
40. And they reclined in companies of hundreds and of fifties.
41. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.
The primary food that Jesus was feeding the people were the loaves of bread
which he miraculously multiplied, but knowing the hardness of heart of most
of the people, He also divided up and multiplied the already dead fish
without causing any further suffering and death.
He is not advocating the eating of flesh as some people try to claim, He is simply multiplying what the people already had.
42. And they all ate and were satisfied.
43. And they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.
All five loaves could have fit into one basket, so this passage is emphasizing that what was left over was twelve times greater than what Jesus started with.
44. And there were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
And note that there is also no mention of these five thousand men eating any
of the fish with the loaves.
Jesus was trying to get the people to start living compassionately in an evil world.
45. And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of
Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the
46. And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.
Jesus needed to pray without the disciples present, for we believe that part of what Jesus was praying about was the disciplesí heart and soul relationship with the Lord and His teachings about living in the heavenly will of God, and being witnesses to the people who live in this evil world, so that they also would become children of God and not just seek to benefit from the miracles that Jesus was performing.
47. And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He
was alone on the land.
48. And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.
49. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;
We need to remember that fear shows our lack of Godís perfect love in our hearts and souls, for perfect love casts out fear.
50. for they all saw Him and were frightened. But immediately He spoke with
them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid."
51. And He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished,
52. for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
This is the reason that we believe that Jesus had to pray without the presence of the disciples.
53. And when they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and
moored to the shore.
54. And when they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,
55. and ran about that whole country and began to carry about on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was.
56. And wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and entreating Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.
We struggle with this verse because we believe that these people were just
seeking to benefit from the miracles Jesus was performing, and not because
they really believed that He was the Son of God, and their Lord and Savior.
They were not living compassionately in an evil world; they were just reaping whatever benefits they could while still living in this evil world.
They were not seeking to change their lives into the peacemaking children of God that Jesus called them to be.
With these things in mind, letís look at Ephesians 2:11-22Ö
11. Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands ó
The ďCircumcisionĒ refers to the Jewish Christians who still followed the strict letter of the Law, and believed that physical circumcision was more important than having true faith and living compassionately in an evil world.
12. remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
In other words, we are not to forget from where we came, and through unconditional love we can lead others to believe and have the faith that we now have.
13. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought
near by the blood of Christ.
14. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16. and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
The enmity is also the evil in this world that true believers who are living
compassionately for the benefit of the whole of creation are overcoming.
We can do this because Christ reconciled all people to Him who believe in Him, regardless of who they are, or where they came from, or what they might have done.
17. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
Are we willing to live in this peace as peacemaking children of God?
We hope and pray that we are.
18. for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
19. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
20. having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
21. in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
22. in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
This is the kind of person each and every one of us should be.
These are the people who are living compassionately no matter how evil the world is around them.
These are the people who can and should be helping to free creation from its present corruption.
Be the people who are truly living compassionately in an evil world.
We can end the pain and suffering of all humans, animals, and the environment.
That is, if we want to.
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