"Many came for Jesus' teaching"
This hymn highlights Jesus' compassion for us in His teaching, His healing forgiveness and His ultimate act of compassion on behalf of all humankind: His crucifixion.
1. Many came for Jesus' teaching;
Lost and aimless were they seeking;
Jesus' heart broke just to see them;
In compassion would He save them.
2. Many came in pain and illness;
From their sins He'd grant forgiveness;
Jesus healed those faith had brought Him;
In compassion did He save them.
3. Many came to crucify Him;
Meek and silent did He let them;
Jesus died for our transgressions;
In compassion does He save us.
Thoughts behind the hymn:
My intent in this hymn is to capture in short broad strokes the Divine love and kindness that defines Jesus' earthly life.
In the first verse we view Jesus' compassion though His teaching, or, more directly, his motivation to teach, wherein He provides not only instruction but comfort. I use The Message translation of Matthew 9:36. The Message is more poignant, indicating a degree of compassion that seems more in harmony with the Greek which in turn seems to imply that Jesus lived in a continual state of compassion for everyone He saw, the crowd being yet another example rather than an initiating cause.
The second verse refers to the many instances of Jesus' healing and forgiveness – relief for people with severe physical ailments – release for those suffering from the pain of guilt and regret. The Gospels tell of Jesus' concern for the well-being of the whole person. His physical healings are less a miraculous end than a practical means to engender faith and demonstrate the power of forgiveness.
The third verse draws from the portion of the Passion described in Mark 15:1-15. Of the Gospels, Mark especially points out how Jesus was continually pursued by crowds. His crucifixion is no different. If it wasn't a crowd wanting something from Him, it was a crowd wanting to put an end to Him. Jesus yielded himself to His dreadful end in silence, an innocent person full of love and truth ensnared in a fraudulent proceeding having an inevitable outcome.
The second verse was the trickiest to compose. In the healings, faith may not have been the sole or even a necessary factor in Jesus' decision to help. The demon-possessed seemed unaware of what was happening to them (but clearly the demons knew exactly who Jesus was). Few details are provided about the raising at Na'in. But we cannot help noting the confident determination with which people sought Jesus' help, struggling through crowds to merely touch His hem, dispatching messengers, being carried by friends – this is what we refer to when we sing, "Jesus healed those faith had brought Him".