In the past couple of weeks, I have been slowly reading through the book of Matthew. Normally when I read the Bible I have a certain amount of chapters I like to read each day so I can read through the Bible in a certain amount of time, but every once in a while, I like to slow down and just read a chapter or two a day spending the same amount of time I would normally, but just read one or two chapters. Just slowly soak up the Word of God, chew on it, meditate on it, think on it. I love the word of God and sometimes I just need to take a slow journey through it. I love when I can spend extra time in His Word just meditating on it, praying and talking to the Lord about each verse and sometimes each phrase or word.
This is what I was doing when I came to chapter nine of the book of Matthew, and the Lord really impressed upon me the below four verses. I guess I had never really thought about the process that happened in these verses in my previous readings of them. It just struck me, that many times in order for us to truly see the need or truly realize the need, we need to be willing to first go. Once we then truly see the need, or truly realize the need it should motivate us to do something about the need. We should be “moved with compassion” just like our Savior, we should seek to minister to the needs of people and introduce them to the One who can meet and satisfy all their needs.
Matthew 9:35-38 “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and 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 on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
There are several actions taken by our Savior Jesus that I want to point out for us notice, to examine ourselves in light of, and to ponder or mediate on His example to us in this passage:
First, is just simply that – Jesus Went (v.35) – Notice the Bible says in verse thirty-five; Jesus went. He went. If we would just simply go – we do not need to be polished or practiced – but we do need to go. Jesus went to where the people were. He went to where the people needed His witness, where they needed His Word, where they needed His love and care in their life. He went, and by going, He then was able to see their need. Of course Jesus knew their need before, He knows all things, but this passage is in the Word of God in part to teach us that we first need to be willing to go, so we can then see. We need to go.
Jesus Shared the Gospel (v.35) – Do we go and share the gospel? Do we pass out tracts? Do we let others know about Jesus? Do we tell others of our testimony? Do we tell them of their only hope for Heaven? Do we invite others to our church? Are we faithful in telling others of the God that “… so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)?
Jesus Met Physical Needs (v.35) – Jesus not only shared the gospel with others, He did so while also ministering to their needs. How often do we seek to meet a need and use that as an opportunity to share the gospel with others? We need to be looking for needs to be met and use the meeting of those needs as opportunities to share the Gospel of Christ. A great way to do evangelism is to seek to meet a need, be a witness of the love of Christ in deed as you are a witness of the love of Christ in words.
Jesus Saw (v.36) – He saw something that affected Him emotionally. He went, and He saw the multitudes. He saw multitudes of people in need of saving. He saw multitudes of people in need of a Savior. He saw multitudes of people who needed someone to come alongside of them and minister to them, reach out to them, pray for them, demonstrate the love of God to them, and try to win them to the Lord.
We too need to go, we too need to see, and we too, like Jesus did, need to let our seeing affect our heart so that we may do something about the needs we see in the multitudes (their greatest need of course being the gospel and their eternal salvation). The prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament gave a testimony very similar to what we see here with Jesus in Matthew chapter nine when Jeremiah wrote, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city” (Lamentations 3:51). We need to allow our eyes to affect our heart. We need to go, we need to see the need, then we need to allow our hearts to be affected by that need. We need to seek to meet those needs and use that as opportunities to share the gospel message.
Jesus Was Moved with Compassion (v.36) – Notice in verse thirty-six of our passage that it says Jesus “was moved with compassion.” He first went, He then saw, and seeing the multitudes and their many needs of a Savior, He was moved with compassion for them. We need to have soft hearts like our Lord. When we see the multitudes, most of whom are dying and going to a Christless eternity, we need to get moved with compassion.
If we are not being moved with compassion, we need to ask the Lord to fix our “mover”, to soften our hearts, we need a heart that is soft enough that our eyes can affect it to move it with compassion for all those in need of Jesus in their life. For all those that need someone to come alongside them in their time of need and encourage them with the love of God, encourage them with the Word of the Lord, to witness to them about Jesus, to show them the only and true source of joy in this world; which is a personal relationship with the Savior of the world – Jesus Christ – the Son of the only true and living God.
Jesus was moved with compassion – are you moved with compassion when you look at the multitudes around you in need of a Savior? We need to pray that our eyes will always affect our hearts, we need to pray we do not grow callous to the worlds need of Jesus. We need to go, we need to see, we need to be moved with compassion!
Jesus Commands Us to Pray for Laborers (v.38) – Jesus does not just tell us, or suggest to us in verse thirty-eight to pray for laborers for His harvest; He commands us to pray for laborers for His harvest. The construct of this sentence is an imperative, it is a command – Jesus is giving us a command to pray for laborers for His harvest. This should be something that is on our prayer list. This need should be on our hearts. This need should be a burden us. We should pray for laborers for the Lord’s harvest, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” We are to pray for laborers, we are to pray the Lord “will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
In this passage – Jesus Tells Us to Go (v.19) – We are not only commanded to pray for laborers for the Lords harvest, here in Matthew 28:19-20, we are personally commanded to go. We are to go. Just like Jesus went, we are to go. We are to pray for laborers, then we are to be one of those laborers.
Are you being a laborer to help bring in the harvest of our Lord? Are you going? Are you allowing yourself to see the need, to be moved with compassion by the need? Are you going? Are you telling others about the Savior of the world? Are you going? This going does not just start in foreign lands, this going starts right where you are. It starts in your town or city. We are to “Go” to all nations, but that going starts right where you are in your nation, in your state, in your town. Yes, the Lord may call you to leave where you are one day and go someplace else, but the going starts right where you are. Are you willing to go?
Luke 14:22-23 “And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
Jesus Also Said to “Compel them to come in” – Compel means more than just to suggest, it means more than just to mention your church, it means to constrain them to come, to necessitate them to come. We are to strive; we are to work hard at inviting people to church. We are to keep at it. We are to “compel them” to come to Jesus, “compel them” to accept Christ as Savior, we are to “compel them” to Jesus.
We have seen in this brief study that we are simply to go, to allow ourselves to see the need, to have a soft and pliable heart that can and should be moved with compassion for the needs of the multitudes for Jesus. We are to work to meet those needs, to witness, to share the gospel. We are to pray for laborers for the harvest of the Lord. We are to also go as laborers ourselves into that harvest and compel those in need of Jesus to come to Him, to accept Him as their Savior. Are we doing this? Are you doing this? Are you willing to do this? Will you surrender to do this? Are you, like our Lord was, being “moved with compassion” for the multitudes, and is that compassion moving you to share the gospel with them? Is that compassion moving you to demonstrate the love of Christ with deeds and words, and is that compassion moving you to compel them to come in to Jesus and accept His free gift of salvation?
We are to be willing to go, so we might see the overwhelming need of the world – and that is the need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world. We are to have hearts of compassion, and that compassion should cause us to have a burden for the lost, a burden for the hurting, and it should in turn motivate us to do something, to take action like our Lord did. We should be moved with compassion, then that compassion should be moving us to ministry.