Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - The Gift of Compassion

Jonathan Bernis - The Gift of Compassion

Jonathan Bernis - The Gift of Compassion
TOPICS: Compassion

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. I'm Jonathan Bernis, and I'm joined again today by my co-host, Ezra Benjamin. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he was often moved by compassion when crowds of Jewish people came to him. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He performed incredible miracles. He fed thousands at a time. And today, we're gonna focus on the power of compassion. In fact, and what is the result of that compassion. Ezra, I'm gonna let you jump in here.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure. I think, Jonathan, part of the reason we're teaching on this a bit today is because we've seen, you know, we have the privilege of traveling around the world and working with so many missions entities. Meeting so many people who are committed to the gospel which in the Greek literally means, it's, "Evangelion," in the Greek and it means the proclamation of the good news of the Messiah. And yet, we've seen two errors I'm going to say. Two extremes. On the one hand, we can call 'em, "The do-gooders," "The humanitarian people," okay? Believers in Jesus, but they say, "I'm gonna demonstrate the gospel through the works that I do. I don't need to open my mouth about it. It's just the good works that I do are testimony enough of what I believe". And yet, the word, "Gospel," is proclamation of good news of the Messiah, and as we often say, "A gospel which isn't proclaimed is no gospel at all". And so, that's a problem, isn't it? When you just, "I'm doing good works, people will figure out what I believe". Well, maybe they won't. Maybe you're just doing good works.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, I think one of the challenges is that if you're feeding people, the food eventually runs out, right?

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: If you're providing any kind of care without the follow-up of proclaiming the gospel, it's temporal. It's temporary.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: The gospel is eternal.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: The gospel is transformational.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: And so, it's absolutely critical if you're a faith ministry, it's wonderful to feed the poor. We're commanded to feed the poor. We're commanded to do good works, but we're also commanded to proclaim the gospel because without the proclamation of the gospel, as you have taught so effectively before, it's not the gospel.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly. And on the other end of the spectrum, there's people committed to proclaiming the gospel, you know, their heart's desire is that people come to know the Lord, that they're forgiven of their sins, that they become citizens of heaven, citizens of the Kingdom of God. And so, they're all about the preaching and teaching, but the condition of the people they're preaching and teaching to isn't on their radar. You know, well, "These people come to my church, and they listen to my messages every week". Well, where are they emotionally? Do they have physical illness? Are there worries in their families? Do they have enough money to pay their next, you know, to buy food? "Oh, that doesn't matter. It's all about the gospel".

Jonathan Bernis: "Go and be fed and clothed. God bless you," right?

Ezra Benjamin: "Be warmed and filled," right? James talks about this. "Faith without works is dead".

Jonathan Bernis: And so, that's the other side and the scriptures are critical of that attitude as well.

Ezra Benjamin: And Jonathan you say so often, it's really become kind of an axiom here at Jewish Voice and it's, "People don't care what you know until they know that you care". Right, and it's this idea that absolutely, of utmost importance is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus, the Messiah, our need for forgiveness of sins, our eternal condition before our holy God. But people may not have ears to hear anything you have to say about the gospel until you've demonstrated that you, like Jesus, care about where they are today.

Jonathan Bernis: You know, Ezra, I am so touched when people come to me after they've received medical care, or dental care, or water purifier, and they're thankful, they're grateful. You can see the gratitude.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: People that have nothing, literally nothing. I'm thinking of people in Ethiopia that live in mud huts, and they have nothing. They don't have clean water.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: All the essentials of life that we take for granted, they don't have, and we help them or we give them a Bible, and they're so touched. Sometimes, they're crying and they're just, "Thank you. Thank you". And then they say, "Why? Why"? And that opens up the door to share our faith.

Ezra Benjamin: Because showing compassion opened the door to share your concern for their eternal state before the Lord, before a holy God. And is this just a good idea? No, it's actually a biblical principle, and so, maybe let's jump right in and look at that.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, let's look at that.

Ezra Benjamin: Thinking of Matthew 9, okay? So, don't take our word for it, take Jesus' word for it. Take the writers of the gospel's word for it. Matthew 9, beginning in verse 35, Jonathan. It says, "Jesus," Yeshua, "Went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom," there's that language, the gospel. "Proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness". So, teaching, proclamation of the good news, sharing the gospel, and healing every disease and sickness. And then, it says in verse 36, "When he saw the crowds," listen, "He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd". Remember, Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. I've come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel". He's come for all the lost, but he came first for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And the idea here is that the gospel was coupled. In Jesus' ministry, it was coupled with not only proclamation, but healing those who were sick and in need of a touch from the Lord, and it was born out a heart of compassion. Jesus is motivated by compassion. And the gospel proclaimed and demonstrated in acts is the entirety of the gospel.

Jonathan Bernis: You know, Ezra I've experienced this, the manifestation of healing on many occasions that compassion is tied, it's inseparable with healing, and when that spirit of compassion comes on you and you start praying, it's different. Things are different. The prayer is different. The results are different, and people actually experience healing as a result of that flow of compassion. Compassion coming out of our spirit or compassion coming out of the Spirit of God when Yeshua ministered and power leaves, right, and touches people when compassion is at work.

Ezra Benjamin: Jonathan, another example just a few chapters later in Matthew is 14:14. Actually, in the context here is Jesus was trying to get away to be with the father in a solitary place, and yet these crowds of needy people seem to pursue him, it's like he can't get away. But listen to what it says in verse 14, when Jesus landed on the boat in the Sea of Galilee, "When he landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick". And isn't that interesting? It doesn't say, "When he landed and saw a large crowd, he said, 'i don't have time for this'. And he went away". Or, "When he landed and saw a large crowd, he didn't say, 'listen and I'll tell you the gospel. You know, I'm not worried about your physical needs". It says, "He first dealt with the physical needs". And then, you know, after this passage goes on, not only does he heal the sick, he feeds 5000. And then, he has audience of people whose physical needs had been met that he can proclaim the good news of the kingdom. And not only that, but his miraculous meeting of physical needs was part of the proclamation that he was the Messiah.

Jonathan Bernis: That's right. It's the gospel by word and by deed.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: You demonstrate the gospel when you meet the needs of people, but it can't be without proclamation.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: The verbal proclamation of the gospel, they go hand in hand. And you know, this Carries on through the Book of Acts as well.

Ezra Benjamin: Absolutely.

Jonathan Bernis: You see Peter and John walking into the temple, and this lame man who's been begging for money now and wants a coin instead is met with these words, "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have, I give to you. Arise and walk". And Peter, literally, yanks this man up. He's completely healed and what does he do? He becomes the proclaimer.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: He's running through the temple. Thousands of people gathered, right? Thousands of Jewish men gathered and there's a huge crowd.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: What happened to this man? And Peter says, "You look astonished". But this is the gospel at work.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: This is Isaiah 61 at work that people are healed. This man is healed by the power of God, not by me. And then, he's able to proclaim the gospel to this crowd that's waiting and expectant, and thousands come to faith in one moment.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. The demonstration, the physical demonstration that becomes a testimony in the community of his power is a confirmation of his power to forgive sins.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly. Well, sharing the gospel is so important, but just like Jesus it's important to have compassion, to minister with compassion and meet needs. There's so many scattered Jewish communities around the world that have great physical needs, that live in absolute squalor. Watch now to learn how you can reach out and help them.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, you've said this in the last segment. I'll say it again, because I say it all the time, "People don't care what you know until they know you care".

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: That's universal.

Ezra Benjamin: That is, it is universal and I think this is an opportunity, Jonathan, at this moment to challenge something I think can creep into our thinking as believers. And it's this idea that, "Ah, you know, people's physical needs are one thing. You know, they're hungry, they're poor, they can't make the rent, they have a disease, you know, they're in emotional turmoil and distress. Yeah, yeah, but it's really mostly about the gospel". Let me ask you, is that true for you? And I recently went through it. A very difficult season, my wife and I did. She became very ill. She had a medical emergency literally overnight. From good health to in need of emergency care, and this season went on for weeks. Jonathan, our world became very small during that time, and what I mean by that is, we couldn't plan for the future. It was difficult to pray for anything except the medical emergency. We weren't aware of what was happening, you know, in some cases, in work, in the community around us. We weren't going to church and congregation. Our lives were consumed by the physical turmoil of the moment. Maybe you can relate to that. Maybe you've gone through an illness. Maybe you have a loved one who's been sick. Maybe you've been through a period of living in poverty. And let me ask you, did you depend on the Lord in that season to come through for you? I think the answer for all of us is "Yes. " so, we need to be careful not to say, "God's only concerned about our eternity and not about our circumstances right now. That he doesn't have compassion on us and wanna demonstrate his love and his power in our lives through intervening in our circumstances".

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, of course, I lived through that with you, and it stopped everything. Thank God, she's doing great now.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly. Praise God.

Jonathan Bernis: Thank God.

Ezra Benjamin: Praise God. He healed her.

Jonathan Bernis: But I think that's a condition right now that is very, very common and it's the result of the pandemic.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: It's the result of isolation. It's the result of losing family members, loved ones, friends.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: I lost over a dozen friends during the pandemic. It's the result of a polarized community now. And people are asking, "Does God see? Does God care? Yes, there's a eternity, but what about now"?

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Well, I wanna tell you that God promises both eternal life and abundant life. That's what Jesus said, "I've come that you might have life". Abundant and eternal life. He does care and he does have compassion, and he does answer prayers, so I would say to you, "Don't give up. Don't stop believing. Faith, faith, faith is what God responds to". And so, you need to get back into the word. You need to get back into prayer. You need to get back into his presence, and you will experience once again the compassion of God. You'll experience by touching his presence, touching him, experiencing him that he is a God of love and care, and he cares about every need that you have.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly right, Jonathan. David says in the Psalms, "I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord here in the land of the living". God is absolutely, ultimately concerned about our eternity. He wants us to be with him forever as his sons and daughters in his kingdom, and he demonstrates that eternal care through his practical care for us.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah.

Ezra Benjamin: Right here.

Jonathan Bernis: He does. Where is God? He is here.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: He is real. He is present. The same God that changed your life however many years ago is the same God who's watching over you now. Do not give up.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly. Jonathan, I wanna turn our attention, we just have a few minutes left, but to this passage of scripture in Matthew 25 and most of you watching today know this. But let's just look at it from a Hebraic perspective here, from a Jewish context, and this is Jesus teaching his disciples that there would come a day, it says, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he'll sit on a glorious throne". So, this is saying, Jesus is going to come as a judge, okay. And it says, "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he'll separate the people one from another like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats". So, he's gonna put some of the nations on his right and he's gonna put some on his left. He's making a distinction. And it goes on to say, I'm gonna summarize here, verse 37 of Matthew 25, "Lord, when did we see you hungry," practical need, "And feed you? When did we see you thirsty," practical need, "And give you something to drink? When did we see that you were a stranger and invite you in or that you needed clothes," practical need, "And give you clothes? When did we see you sick or in prison and come visit you"? And he says, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers, you did to me". Jonathan, the Greek there is literally, "Whatever you did for the least of my kinsmen according to the flesh". Some translator has said, "Oh, it's all mankind". I don't think that's an accurate translation. This is a hard passage. Jesus is saying, the nations will be judged, based on what they did and didn't do to meet practical needs of Jesus' kinsmen, his brothers according to the flesh, in a time of trouble.

Jonathan Bernis: That has been completely lost in the majority of the Christian world. I hope you're one that sees that reality. I know that many that watch our program understand that, but this is has been totally removed from the consciousness of Christians because of replacement theology. Right? That God is finished with them, that they're under his judgement, but that is exactly what the text says.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, Jesus knew. He was teaching disciples. "Before I come back to sit on that throne and judge, to rule and reign from Jerusalem, Israel, the Jewish people were going to go through hard times". And the Lord is watching, he's watching what people do to meet practical needs either in his love or to ignore the practical needs of Jewish people in a time of trouble out of selfishness or just unawareness, unawareness of what God's plan was here.

Jonathan Bernis: Ezra, since you tackled one, I think a very hard verse,

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: And a very controversial by the way, it's worth mentioning since, I'll just add on to that.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: We're fighting through a 2000-year legacy unfortunately of Christian antisemitism. Think about this that there's been antisemitism since the time of Abraham, but over the last 1800 years, most of the antisemitism that the Jewish people have endured has come through those that have called themselves Christians. Now, we might not agree that they were Christians, but when you look at the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century where Jewish people were forced to convert or banished or put to death at the edge of the sword, this was done in the name of Jesus Christ. When you look at the crusades going back further where entire armies, Christian armies March through Europe in their quest to rule the Holy Land.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: They wiped out entire Jewish communities. They raped the women. That's a primary reason that Jewish lineage is through the mother now because of the crusades.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: It was done in the name of Jesus Christ with a cross at the head of armies. When you look at the pogroms of Russia, when you look at the holocaust just in the last generation less than a 100 years ago. You have prison guards in concentration camps telling Jewish people, "We kill you because you killed our God, Jesus Christ". I've heard that from a survivor, that they were told that by a guard wearing a cross. Now, it was a twisted cross, but it was nevertheless a cross, and they identified as Christians. We have to overcome this by demonstrating the love of God, by demonstrating compassion and sharing the gospel of course because as hard as that is, we do it by demonstrating the love of God,

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: We provoke the Jewish people to jealousy, how? By letting them see in us the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at work.

Ezra Benjamin: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And how can anyone be, to be jealous, I think about this a lot. To be jealous means to see something and know that it belongs to you or to think that it should. Is the condition of your faith one that a Jewish person would recognize as something which first belonged to them, in which the Lord wants them to get back? Or is it something unrecognizable or even worse, something antagonistic?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, there's been plenty of judgement, it's time for love and compassion. I hope you're listening to what we're saying. It's really important. Well, we wanna ask you to partner with Jewish Voice. Will you consider partnering with us? It takes a lot of resources to put on medical outreaches, and then, we pray for people, we share the gospel and many come to faith. Will you partner with us now to help? Because we need your help today to help those in need.

Jonathan Bernis: We've been talking on the program today about compassion coupled with the proclamation of the gospel because they go hand in hand. God is moved by compassion and when there's compassion, there's healing. There is miracles. There is divine provision. It all comes with compassion and I wanna declare over you today that God is compassionate,

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: In your life. He wants to demonstrate his compassion. You're facing physical needs, God's compassion will touch that need. You're facing physical needs financially. God's compassion will meet that need according to his riches in glory in the Messiah. You're isolated, you're lonely, you're depressed, the compassion of God wants to bring you joy and peace. There's a need for family restoration. You're praying for loved ones, for family members, for children and grandchildren that have gone astray, God's compassion will reunite your family. And so, we're going to join together in prayer right now, and we want you just to receive right now the compassion of God. "Lord, we declare that you are a God of compassion. And we thank you, father, that you are pouring out healing right now".

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: You're pouring out compassion by restoring marriages, by restoring families, by meeting financial needs. We thank you, Lord that you're a God of love and that your mercy endures forever.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: It's a new day. It's a new beginning. We declare it over each one and each need, in the name of Yeshua, in Jesus' name. Amen. If you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to You can also send us your prayer request on the website. We have a team at Jewish Voice that's committed to reading your prayer requests and praying for you by name. We believe in the power of prayer, we care about you and more importantly, God cares about you and wants to demonstrate his compassion in your life. As we close our program, I wanna remind you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6 implores each one to pray for the peace of Jerusalem where it says, "May they prosper who love thee". Until next time. This is Jonathan Bernis along with Ezra Benjamin saying, shalom and God bless you.
Are you Human?:*