Then Jesus went about 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 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.” (Matthew 9:35-38)
Sheep In Need Of A Shepherd
It was not uncommon for multitudes to follow Jesus. On one occasion, there were five thousand men, not counting the women and children. The work of Jesus was exhausting. He traveled from the towns and villages dotting the landscape, teaching and preaching to the people. He would enter the local synagogues and teach the people. Not only did Jesus talk for endless hours, sharing the good news about the kingdom, but He also healed every kind of disease the people brought to Him. A man would come to the Lord imploring healing from a lifelong disease. He was healed immediately. Women would come with ailments, and they were cured. Mothers and fathers brought the children to be healed by the man from Nazareth, and the children returned home whole. Lepers were cleansed. The blind received sight. Jesus healed them all.
The work of Jesus was exhaustive. Thousands flocked to Jesus to hear his teaching and receive the wonder-working power of God’s healing. As the crowds came to Jesus, He looked at the multitudes filled with despair and hopelessness. They seemed confused and helpless. Jesus would spend hours teaching about the kingdom and healing all diseases, and the people kept coming. In a reflective moment of the work He was doing, Jesus realized the enormity of human suffering and the need for humanity to find hope. Jesus saw the multitudes as a flock of sheep that had no shepherd.
Sheep are defenseless creatures that cannot protect themselves and cannot provide for their needs. People are like that. No matter the advancement of human wisdom, the multitudes Jesus saw were the same as all creation. Sin took away the joy of life. Without guidance, the world implodes into chaos. The world of Noah had turned so far away from God because they sought to find answers within themselves. Jesus looked at the multitudes coming to Him filled with anxiety, despair, hopelessness, and disease. The Roman government offered no solutions. In the remnant of Israel, there were no answers. The wisdom of Plato and Socrates was empty. What could the world turn to for hope and answer? It was the man teaching in the cities and villages of Palestine who healed everyone of all sickness.
Jesus did not come to cure poverty or take away disease. The sympathy Jesus had for the multitudes is how lost they seemed to be – seeking answers in all the wrong places. God sent His Son into the world to bring light, dispel darkness, and deliver the way, the truth, and life. No man before Jesus and no man after Jesus would bring hope. There was much work to be done to convince helpless man his hope rests in the Son of God. Jesus prayed for helpers to labor in the vineyard of truth to show the multitudes the grace of God. There is no way but the way of the Lord for men to find peace. Only in the truth of Jesus Christ can answers be found. The world is in need of God. God is in need of those who will see the world for what it is and take the gospel of the kingdom to hungry men. The harvest truly is plentiful. Sadly, the laborers are few. The first prayer should be to find men and women willing to take up the banner and share the gospel with their neighbors. Take a look at your neighbors – they – like you – are sheep in need of the Shepherd.