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September 29 – A lesson on compassion

“And should I not pity Nineveh…?” – Jonah 4:11 

Scripture reading: Jonah 4:5-11

One of the main points of the book of Jonah is that God demonstrates love in hard places. Nineveh was a hard place for Jonah — that’s why Jonah resisted going and was angry when they repented. But Jonah’s own heart is revealed through his words and actions. He’s not too loveable or likeable either. We see ourselves in Jonah: our hearts are hard places, therefore we need God to have compassion on us.

Compassion means “to suffer with” or “to suffer into.” Compassion means to enter into another person’s world of hurt and do something about it. This is love in action.

This gets to the heart of the gospel. God felt compassion for sinners in their lost estate and did something about it. The Father sent Jesus from heaven, and Jesus entered our broken world to suffer and die to save His people.

As we survey the emotional life of Jesus, Jesus’ compassion is the strongest emotion represented in the gospels. We repeatedly read that Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the hurting and helpless, the outcasts and the marginalized, the lost and the lonely. See for example Mark 1:41, Luke 7:13, Matt. 20:34, & Matt. 9:36.

Jesus is the revelation of the heart of God, this heart of compassion.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for His compassion, as demonstrated most clearly in Christ. Pray that you would grow in a heart of compassion for others.

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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