This week’s devotions are based on the Week 9 “Explore God” – Relationships that Matter! (WATCH HERE)
Matthew 9:35 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. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9 is filled with Jesus’ encounters with different people. Here’s a list:
- A paralyzed man brought to him to be healed
- Matthew and his tax collector friends
- John the Baptist’s disciples
- A synagogue leader
- A bleeding woman
- Two blind men
- A mute demon-possessed man
- Religious leaders opposed to him
It’s quite the list of people misled by greed, religious teaching, or the power of demons. People with physical ailments and spiritual questions.
For Jesus it was all in a day’s work.
However, this wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Jesus went through all the towns and villages and similar people came to him. He taught them. He healed them. He proclaimed the good news of the kingdom to them.
But the crowds kept coming and his heart went out to them.
He saw people misguided with misplace trust and empty hopes and promises. He saw people stuck in the reality of their sin without forgiveness and without hope. He saw people hanging on to spiritual teach that was neither true nor comforting. His heart went out to them because he wanted these people to have a shepherd who would lead them into all truth, all comfort, and all hope. Instead of being led, people were being harassed and left spiritually helpless.
Can you see the same thing today?
Look at the headlines or listen to the news. Morals are messed up. People are living deceptions of reality. Drugs and alcohol and other addictions try to provide escapes. The religious landscape is large and confusing yet individuals are told it all leads to the same end. People are harassed by a bombardment of deceptive thoughts, superficial hope, and spiritual confusion. Do our hearts go out to them? Do we have the compassion of Jesus to help them find a shepherd to lead them, feed them, and guide them to truth.
I hope so, but have to admit I need Jesus’ forgiveness for the many times I am more ready to blow people off than to connect them to their Good Shepherd.
Jesus couldn’t get to everyone. He connected in relationship with the people he could…but then he prayed to his heavenly Father to provide more workers to bring in the harvest of people that was ready for truth, ready for hope, ready for a Good Shepherd.
Ironically, Matthew chapter 10 begins with listing the 12 disciples…they were the answer to his prayer.
So are you. So am I.
The harvest of people is around us. Pray that the Lord would use us.
Apply: Today just notice people. People driving around you, walking around you, working with you, living next to you, in class with you, etc. Pray for the Lord to use you to build a relationship with one more person to be able to point them to their Good Shepherd, Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for a heart of compassion that was willing to engage with people to bring them to know you as their Savior. AMEN.