And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35–38
C. H. Spurgeon said that verse 38 weighed on his heart more than any other text in the Bible! He said that it haunted him perpetually (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit [Pilgrim Publications], 19:466).
THE POINT: We need to see as Jesus saw and feel as Jesus felt so that we will do as Jesus did.
THREE LESSONS – first…
1. We need to see as Jesus saw. Presumably, Jesus and the disciples saw the same scene: the approaching crowd of people. But Jesus saw them with different eyes than the disciples did. It would have been easy to have just seen “nameless faces.” You “look” at them, but you don’t “see” them.
***Word Study “SAW” - it means more than observing with your eyes, means paying attention in your mind and being touched in your heart. He looked at the people. But He saw more than a crowd. The Lord Jesus saw souls. He saw a multitude of souls.
2. We need to feel as Jesus felt. Note the link in verse 36, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them….” As Jesus looked out He was moved with compassion. "moved with compassion." This term comes from a word in which we get our modern word "spleen" - the idea is that it got Jesus in His gut. Deep down inside, Jesus felt for these people. He felt compassion for them.
The metaphor of "sheep without a shepherd" is used. They are hurting and helpless. Fatigued and forlorn. Dejected and deserted. Exhausted and exposed. It means literally "torn and thrown down." Jesus saw lost people as HARASSED. “troubled” or “vexed.” Jesus saw lost people as HELPLESS. The word means, “downcast” or “thrown down.” It points to the utterly helpless and forsaken condition of people who are lost in sin without the Savior.
3. We need to do as Jesus did. Matthew 9:37–38 - Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” JESUS SERVED. JESUS PRAYED. JESUS SENDS US. Verse 38 "send out" - literally "to throw out"; "force out."
Your brother in Jesus,