Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Father of Compassion

I’d like to share some thoughts on one phrase I read a while ago in my quiet time. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV) reads “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”.

The phrase “Father of compassion” really leapt out at me. What does it mean for God to be the Father of compassion?

Firstly, it means that compassion ultimately comes from God. The passage in 2 Corinthians 1 is all about how Paul knowing God comforting him in his sufferings means that he can then show comfort to the Corinthians. In the same way, if we are going to show true compassion for others, we start by knowing true compassion from God. But God isn’t just the “source of compassion” – he’s the “Father of compassion”. His compassion is seen by the way that he is Jesus’ Father – he is the Father who loved us so much that he sent his Son to willingly die for us.

But more than that – the phrase “Father of compassion” is just next to the phrase “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. The two are closely linked. He is the Father of compassion precisely because he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God isn’t two Fathers – his Fatherhood of Jesus is in a sense the same as his Fatherhood of compassion. When we see the Father’s compassion, we see his love for his Son. When we experience the Father’s compassion, we are in some sense experiencing the Father’s love for the Son. God is compassionate to us because of the compassion the Father has for the Son. When we know and feel God’s love for us, we are beginning to taste the love within the Trinity itself (2 Peter 1:14).

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