Summary: Jesus looked beyond the physical appearance of people and saw THE SUFFERINGS OF HUMANITY. He also looked at the ministry and saw THE SHORTAGE OF HARVESTERS. The challenge: Do you feel the pains and desperation of people around you? Will you be a worker in


Matt. 9:35-38

THE PROPOSITION: We can only have true compassion for people the way Jesus had compassion for them until we look at people the way Jesus look at them.

Verse 35 says that our Lord went to where the people were. He went from town to town, from village to village. He did not wait for the people to come to Him. That is what we need to do if we are to follow Jesus.

Jesus ministered to the whole person. He taught the Word of God. In other words, He educate the people. He taught them the basics, the fundamental things in life.

To others He preached. Preaching is to declare, to announce, to invite, to challenge, to call, to get people to make a decision. He wants them to receive His love and forgiveness and to become His followers.

He also healed the sick. Dr. David Woodrum told us of the power evangelism in the third world. People need proof. There was a time in Paul’s ministry when he needed to authenticate his apostleship. He said, “I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracle” (2 Cor. 12:12).

Paul’s goal is the communication of the gospel and the conversion of the heathen and there were times he resorted to power evangelism. He said, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:18-19).

Paul also recognized that different cultures have different emphasis. He said, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22).

There is always a place for the ministry of doctors and medical professionals in the kingdom of God. Jeremiah 8:22 says, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”

However, we need to beware that Satan also resorts to signs and wonders. 2 Thess 2:9 says, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.”

Verse 36 says that looking at the crowds He had compassion on them. “Compassion” is “splanchnizomai” in Greek. “Splanchnology” is the study of the intestines (guts). "Moved with compassion" (KJV) means He is stirred at the deepest level. He literally became sick inside. What did Jesus see that made Him sick at the pit of His stomach?

FIRST, HE SAW THE SUFFERINGS OF HUMANITY. As someone said, “He saw the hurting, the helpless, and the hopeless. He saw the souls and hearts of men and women. He looked beyond their faults and saw their needs. This means he did not just see a man with leprosy, but He felt His pain and rejection, loneliness and isolation. He did not just see a man whose daughter had died, but felt his sorrow and bereavement. He saw His broken heart, and even better, His heart broke right along with him! And Jesus did not look on the fallen woman in the judgmental way as we do, but rather in love and compassionate forgiveness, wiping her slate clean!” How true, indeed!

Steve Green wrote a song entitled, “PEOPLE NEED THE LORD,” Listen to the lyrics: “Everyday they pass me by,/ I can see it in their eyes./ “Empty people filled with care,/ Headed who knows where?// On they go through private pain,/ Living fear to fear./ Laughter hides their silent cries,/ Only Jesus hears.// People need the Lord, people need the Lord./ At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door./ People need the Lord, people need the Lord./ When will we realize, people need the Lord?”

Oh, how truly we need emphatic people who will weep over their lost friends and loved ones. How urgently we need people who will weep over the hurting, the helpless, and the hopeless!


There is a second thing that Jesus saw. HE SAW A SHORTAGE OF HARVESTERS. He saw a field that is fully ripe (John 4:35). It has to be harvested soon or the grains will fall to the ground. As He looked at this vast wheat field, He saw only a few harvesters. And so He asked His disciples to pray for harvesters.

The May-June 2011 editorial of Mission Frontiers magazine by Rick Wood observes that there is a growing Jesus movement in the Muslim world, and in the Hindu world, and in the Jewish society, and in many other cultures. People are coming to the Lord and forming their own communities without coming out of their old religion and culture. Why? Because there is a shortage of harvesters.

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