Today’s Reading: Matthew 9:18-38
Key Verses: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-3
In Matthew 9:35-38, we see something crucial about the way Jesus did ministry. Jesus went (35), He saw” (36), He had” (36) and He said” (37).
Christ Went To the People (vs. 35)
Jesus took the primary responsibility to minister to the people’s spiritual need by going to them. Christ intentionally entered into the lives of these people: He worshipped with them in their synagogues, He went to weddings with them, He worked with them on their fishing boats, He helped harvest the fruits of the field, He laughed with them when one of them made a joke, and He cried with them when someone they loved died. Christ knew who they were and their personal pains because he purposely entered their daily lives. If Jesus went to people, then why do we spend so much time sitting in the church wait for them to come to us? If Jesus went to the needy, why do we spend so much time avoiding them?
Christ Really Saw them (36)
There is a difference between seeing a person, and actually seeing who they really are! Christ saw them individually. He didn’t just see a bunch of people in a crowd. He looked into every single soul. Every person we meet is unique. I have learned there is no such thing as a homeless person, a drug dealer or an alcoholic. Jesus doesn’t seem stereotypes; He sees souls.
He Had Compassion On Them (36)
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (36) – a literal translation would be “He was gripped with compassion.” The Greek verb means suffered within, very literally the declaration is that His bowels were moved within Him. The Greek understanding was that the bowels were regarded as the seat of violent passion, such as anger or love. We as the church must not just be committed to people, but we must be moved inwardly with compassion for them.
Then He said (37)
Jesus had the first-hand experience of real life with people before he had the ability to pass it on to the disciples. Jesus walked in their shoes. He did not present a clear and powerful presentation of what it would take to be an effective in ministering to them unless he personally had gone through the process! Until he saw the people, until he felt their needs, until he experienced their pain or until he was gripped with compassion.
Jesus set out a model for us to follow in ministry. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Are we willing to join Him in His harvest?