The Compassion of Jesus
Today’s blog entry is found in Matthew 9:35-37 (NKJV) in which it reads, “Then Jesus went about (or through) 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. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary (harassed) and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” And from the Message Bible the story is interpreted like this, “Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When He looked out over the crowds, His heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. What a huge harvest! he said to His disciples, “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”
These scriptures describe for us how Jesus sees the people of this world? He sees them as confused and aimless… like sheep with no shepherd. They have no clear direction and no clear purpose in their life, therefore they are easy pickin’s for the enemy of their soul. The story tells us, Jesus (who was the physical body the Word of God took upon Himself – John 1:14) was heart broken when He looked out over the people and saw the pitiful condition of their souls. Why was the Son of God heart-broken? The religious leaders of their day wouldn’t help God’s people because they were more concerned with what they were doing to be seen by men than they were with the needs of the people. The times haven’t changed, only the players in the game of life have changed. Our friends and neighbors are still wandering around just as confused, aimless and harassed by the enemy of their soul as the people of Israel were during the days of Jesus, and for the same reason. They have no faith that our church leaders will help them because there are still power hungry, money grubbing, people in the church who are there for the paycheck and benefit package provided, rather than healing the hurts and pains of the people who come to them for help. That’s why there was no power in the church before Jesus came and that is why there is no power in the church today.
There will be some who disagree with my assessment of the present day church and say, “That’s not my church. I visit the sick, pray for God to heal them, visit the poor, preach powerful sermons and help organize all of our fundraisers.” That’s well and fine; “Do you not think the Pharisees did these same kinds of things for certain people?” Read what Jesus instructed His disciples to do in Matthew 10:7-8, “And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers. raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” The Message Bible says it this way, “Go to the lost confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.” No where in these passages of scriptures did it say God would do these things for those who have been sent. The shepherd has one responsibility and that is to watch over the owner’s sheep because the owner’s welfare depends upon their shepherds caring for their flocks, healing the hurting ones, driving off the wild animals who would kill them, feeding them, and seeing that the sheep are well cared for because happy sheep bear many lambs and unhappy sheep bear none.
The shepherd is a picture of the pastor of a local church. They both have one job and that is to see that their flocks are cared for; and if they do, the owner of the sheep will be happy and will reward them handsomely. If the Master is unhappy with the shepherd’s care of His sheep, that shepherd isn’t going to be rewarded for being uncaring. Jesus said, “The shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” What that means is – if the shepherd/pastor does not tend to the needs of the sheep in his care, it would be better if he didn’t return home at all because He will give an accounting for the sheep/parishioners he allowed to wander away from his flock, let the wild animals/Satan devour, and those that were so miserable they bore no lambs. Pastors seems to have forgotten what their role is in the kingdom of God. It’s not about doing things to receive praise from men, but rather putting to use what we have been freely given. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”
Matthew chapter 10 from the Message Bible gives us a clear set of guidelines to follow for tending to and caring for, those confused, aimless, and harassed sheep, that make up the majority of the world’s population. Then after reading Matthew Ten, we need to obey it, and forget about our own needs because our needs are small compared to the misery of the hurting sheep in this world. The Lord has promised each of us He will take care of our problems while we are seeing to the well-being of His hurting people. However, if we fail to do what we have been commanded, don’t be too surprised if the Lord forgets to add our name to the roll in heaven. DThrash