35 Then Jesus went throughout all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38
I want to ask you a personal question. This is a question I’ve often asked myself, and a question that I think we all do well to reflect on. This question is more important than your personal “calling,” or your vocation, or your circle of influence, or your church tradition or affiliation, or so many other important things.
“Do you see what Jesus sees?”
This is the defining question of your ministry to the world.
When you see people… When you see the “crowds”… Do you really see them? Do you really see what Jesus sees?
How many times have we been quick to pass judgment on others? To be the accuser… How many times have we been quick to assume that we know the story, and to render a verdict? When we saw Miley Cyrus “dancing” at the VMAs… When a young woman gets pregnant out of wedlock… and when that young woman goes in for an abortion… When we see people “living off the government”… When we saw people dancing for joy in the streets of the Middle East after 9/11… When we saw people dancing for joy in the streets of Washington D.C. after Osama bin Laden was killed…
Do we see what Jesus sees? “bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
I want you to notice something from this passage in Matthew 9. I want you to notice that right after the author sums up Jesus’ ministry to the people, and right before he quotes Jesus about the “harvest” in the world, he says this about Jesus, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Bewildered and helpless… Let that sink in.
Imagine Jesus looking out over today’s crowds, the crowds that gather our homes, our churches, our bars, our schools, our hospitals, our prisons, and our government buildings. Imagine Jesus looking out over the “culture wars,” and over the “war on terror” and imagine him looking with eyes of compassion… Imagine what he sees… “bewildered and helpless…” Can we see it? Do we see with eyes of compassion? Do we see the story that Jesus sees?
If we don’t see what Jesus sees, we just won’t love like Jesus loves.
If we don’t see like Jesus sees, there is no “harvest.” There is no reaching the world.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
My prayer for us, as followers of Jesus, is that we would see like Jesus sees, so that we might love like Jesus loves.
This passage indicts us all, and it invites us to stand up on that hillside, with Jesus, to see what he sees.
This is what the world is waiting for.