One major aspect of this goodness is compassion. Jesus characteristically expressed compassion for those in need, whether that need was physical or spiritual. Wonderfully, Jesus' compassion was not limited to stirrings within His heart. When Jesus experienced compassion, He evidenced His compassion by doing something to alleviate the situation. When a leper came to Jesus and asked for healing, Jesus had compassion on the leper, healed him, and sent him on his way (1:40-43). Jesus had compassion on a man whose daughter was sick; He accompanied the man to his house for the purpose of healing the girl (5:22-24). Jesus had compassion on a Gentile woman, who normally would not have drawn the notice of a Jew. Jesus responded by releasing the woman's daughter from an evil spirit (7:25-30). When onlookers discouraged a blind man from bothering Jesus, Jesus had compassion. He called the blind man to Him and healed his blindness (10:46-52). When a large crowd of people had listened to Jesus for several days, He had compassion on them because of their hunger and inaccessibility to food. He responded by providing food for the entire crowd so that they could return home without fainting (8:1-8).
Jesus also had compassion for people's spiritual needs. This is well-expressed by Mark 6:34. "When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things." On two recorded occasions, Jesus showed compassion for children, although others wanted to minimize their importance. Jesus spoke out strongly against anyone who would cause a child to stumble (9:42). When others tried to keep children from coming to Jesus, Jesus rebuked those men and readily welcomed the children (10:14). When James and John came to Jesus with a rather questionable request, Jesus did not verbally attack them. Instead He gave a compassionate response designed to help them understand the import of their question (10:38).
In addition to compassion for those who were needy, Jesus also demonstrated His goodness by providing comfort for those who were hurting or troubled. When He reached the home of Jairus, an official announced that Jairus's daughter was dead. Jesus responded first with words of comfort; He followed His words with comforting actions as he revived the daughter and restored her to her father's arms (5:35-41). The disciples were caught in a fierce storm that was too mighty for them and that overwhelmed them with fear; upon Jesus' arrival, He immediately comforted them with His words of assurance and then silenced the storm (6:47-51). Later Jesus was informing His disciples about the challenging days that would come. He prepared them with words of advice, explanation, and comfort so that they would not be overwhelmed by the troubling prophecies (13:7-13).
Finally, Jesus expressed the goodness of God through the kindness that permeated His interactions with others. He showed His kind affection for His followers, claiming them as His own family (3:34). Jesus cared about His disciples in the midst of a storm. He arose from His nap and calmed both the storm and the disciples (4:37-40). When the disciples returned from a busy time of ministry only to be overwhelmed with more crowds of people, Jesus provided a time of rest for them (6:30-32). From afar Jesus observed His disciples in a situation of great need, and He went to them so that He could help them (6:48). Even when Jesus was aware of a betrayer in the midst of His disciples, He was not vicious or unkind (14:17-21).
Jesus' kindness clearly extended beyond the realm of His closest followers. Instead of rebuking with harsh words, Jesus responded kindly to a woman who interrupted His ministry to someone else (5:34). Jesus took time for the children and interacted kindly with them (9:36). A man came to Jesus seeking the way of eternal life. In spite of his interest, the man had some challenges in understanding the extent of his need. Jesus responded with a heart of love to this seeking man (10:21). A poor widow gave a measly offering of a few coins; others minimized her gift, but Jesus commended the lady and appreciated her gift (12:43). When another lady gave a gift of perfume to Jesus, He defended and honored her sincere worship, although it was misunderstood by others (14:6-9).
Jesus, as the manifestation of God on earth, consistently displayed His goodness through compassion, comfort, and kindness to people. These loving actions are multiplied throughout the rest of the Bible and, in fact, throughout the entirety of history. God is indeed good, and He clearly loves people. What a blessing to have a good, benevolent God who seeks and provides the best for His followers!
"How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men!" Psalm 31:19 (NASB)