WHAT MOVED JESUS
Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
There is a part of Jesus that we do not want to gloss over. We marvel at the miracles. We are struck by the simplicity and power in His teachings. We are amazed at His ability to handle all kinds of opposition without wilting. And we are humbled by His obedience to God that was revealed in His death on the cross. But there is another component of Jesus' ministry. He was moved with compassion for the people.
Jesus went around the cities and villages teaching, preaching, and healing. His message concerned the Kingdom of God. And His message was validated by the signs and wonders God worked through Him. But what moved Jesus was not the opportunity to preach and teach. The miracles did not motivate Him. What caught His heart was a compassion for the people that He encountered.
Jesus engaged with the people everywhere He went. And His takeaway was how they were weary and scattered. The people were like sheep, having no shepherd. Obviously, Jesus was speaking of the spiritual condition of the people. Sheep with no shepherds are vulnerable. And God has often referred to His people as sheep. The shepherds were the spiritual leaders of Israel. Evidently, the spiritual leadership during Jesus' day had declined so badly that the people were being impacted negatively.
And the spiritual condition of the people got to the heart of Jesus. He had compassion for the people that He met in the cities and villages. In the other gospel accounts, we see Jesus moved with compassion, healing, and delivering the people. And we see Jesus moved with compassion and teaching the people. Once, Jesus was moved with compassion for a grieving mother who had lost her only son, and Jesus raised the boy from the dead. When Jesus was moved with compassion, He did something. He did not merely feel bad for the people; He acted.
Here in Matthew's account, Jesus was moved and He instructed His disciples to pray. And to pray specifically. Jesus wanted His followers to pray and ask God, the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into His harvest. The compassion of Jesus called for other people to become laborers for God to minister to God's people.
Jesus has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is still moved with compassion for people. Many people today are like the people in Jesus' day. They are weary and scattered like sheep without a shepherd.
One of the biggest problems of the 2020 pandemic was the fallout of church by so many believers. This fallout has not built up the body of Christ, nor has it strengthened the church as a whole. The fact of the matter is that we are still God's sheep, and we still need shepherds. It was God who ordained the local church, and strong local churches help develop strong sheep.
And laborers are still needed for God's harvest. People willing to serve God are as necessary today as they were in Jesus' day.
Jesus is still compassionate towards His sheep. Please pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest. God does not want people weary and scattered. His compassion wants them strengthened and grounded.
Lord, thank You for Your compassion towards me. I am Your sheep, and You are the chief shepherd. I ask You to send laborers into Your harvest, and I am willing to be a laborer.