Summary: This short powerful passage provides insight into Jesus’ motivation for advancing the training of His disciples to the next level or on to ministering to people in teams. The reason is Jesus’ compassion for the masses. Jesus saw beyond the physical broken
MATTHEW 9: 35-38
COMPASSION MOVES TO ACTION
Jesus saw beyond the physical brokenness to the deeper tragedy of lives lived without spiritual purpose or direction.This short powerful passage provides insight into Jesus’ motivation for advancing the training of His disciples to the next level or on to ministering to people in teams. The reason is Jesus’ compassion for the masses. Jesus saw beyond the physical brokenness to the deeper tragedy of lives lived without spiritual purpose or direction.
This section looks both backward and forward. These verses conclude the words and deeds of Chapters 8 & 9 and prepare us for the disciples mission in chapter 10. It is a fitting transition to the next section for it introduces Christ’s reason for disciplining His followers. The remarkably compassionate Shepherd discipled His followers to prepare them to be workers in God’s eternal harvest (CIT).
As long as Christ ministered to the physical needs of people He was admired. When He directs His followers to join Him in His redemptive mission He becomes an object of doubt, criticism, and hostility. Yet antagonism would not defer Christ from seeking, preparing, and sending workers out to bring a spiritual harvest of eternal souls into the kingdom of God.
I. Christ’s Compassionate Ministry, 35.
II. Christ’s Compassionate Outlook, 36.
III. Christ’s Compassionate Command, 37-38.
This bridge section is introduced in verse 35 by summarizing Jesus’ threefold ministry: teaching, preaching, and healing. “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
Jesus made a practice of going through large towns and small villages. Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, but the poor, obscure villages. All the poor hidden souls of the world are precious to Christ, and should be to us also.
His early public ministry was concentrated into three areas. The first and foremost was His teaching ministry. Teaching is offering detailed explanations of a particular Scripture passage or passages.
Jesus’ second public ministry priority was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus announced (krusso), made known, or heralded the long awaited arrival of the kingdom of God on earth. The phrase “gospel of the kingdom” or, the Good News of the kingdom, is a key for the understanding of the gospel message. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of the rule of God amidst His people, now actualized in the Person and presence of Jesus Christ.
It is the Messiah who brings the kingdom of God into affairs of the world and asks His creation to enter His kingdom by submission to it’s King and then following the King’s precepts. His message was repent - or turn from your sins and turn to God for the kingdom of God is at hand. A time of salvation by grace through faith for the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of the sinner is offered. The Son of David has come to build the kingdom by recruiting surrendered subjects.
Jesus’ third area of public ministry was healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. His healing ministry was for the purpose of authenticating Himself. This astounding ministry attracted large crowds and needy people. The last two chapters have proven that there was no disease or sickness too difficult for Jesus to heal.
This ministry summation is given because it is at this point [which is very similar to 4:23,] that Jesus begins transitioning His ministry from one of public words and deeds to one concentrated on equipping His followers to become teachers of the Word, proclaimers of the gospel, and healers of the people. This equipping ministry enables an ever widening circle of people to be personally touched. This making disciples to carry on His ministry is still the emphasis of Jesus today.
II. CHRIST’S COMPASSIONATE OUTLOOK (36).
Presented in verse 36 is the compassion of the Shepherd for the misguided multitudes who are like sheep w/ out a shepherd. “Seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast [dispirited] like sheep without a shepherd.”
As Jesus conducted His teaching ministry He encountered many crowds. As Jesus observed the crowds, He had compassion toward them. Now the physical needs of the multitudes were not the only reason for the compassion of Jesus. His pathos for the crowds was heightened because their state of distress and helplessness which was similar to that of sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34). Because of their spiritual condition He felt compassion for they lacked godly shepherding. [The verb “to have compassion” (splanchnizomai) suggests strong emotion, it means “to feel deep sympathy.” There were many occasions when Jesus’ compassion was manifested (14:14; 15:32; 20:34).] Jesus was physically moved by stomach-wrenching empathy for the plight of the people.