Summary: Jesus always taught by personal example and by giving contemporary examples. He uses two pictures to show 2 needs in the Kingdom of God.
Defenseless Sheep and Full Fields
Matthew 9:35: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
The Good News of the Kingdom
Jesus continues to heal every disease and sickness as He preaches the good NEWS of the Kingdom. The Good News is the gospel. The Greek word is “euaggelion”. It means Gospel, Good news, good tidings; We get the word “Evangelism” from it. What is the message of the Gospel.? Remember what the angels proclaimed to the shepherds and told them to share? Luke 2:10-11: “But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior (“soter”, one who saves from judgment) who is Christ the Lord; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” Matthew 1:21: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." What is the Good News? The King of Heaven has come to die for the sins of everyone who believes. This is the very essence of the Gospel
The good news of the Kingdom excludes all prejudice. Unlike the people of Jesus’ day, there is not one disease that Jesus wouldn’t touch. We have seen how so many sick people were unclean, untouchable to the rest of society, but Jesus turns nobody away who would come to Him for cleansing and forgiveness.
Jesus sets the precedent for the work of the Kingdom in these verses. There is no PERSON who should be left alone, and there should be no PLACE that will be left alone. The Gospel is to be sent to every place. IT is to be proclaimed in towns (polis), the place where a person lives, but also to villages. “Villages” often referred to the place where the laborers slept at night after working in the field all day. Go to the synagogues: Synagogues were the Jewish places of worship and study of God’s Word, but “Synagogue” also means “bringing together, gathering, as of fruits.” It comes from the word “to gather fish.” Bring the Gospel wherever people gather. If you’re gonna pick fruit, go where the fruit trees are. If you’re gonna go fishing, go to where there are fish. If you’re gonna bring the Gospel, bring it wherever there are people.
Jesus preached the Gospel to people, He didn’t only heal. His purpose was to bring redemption, so that is what we preach too: The Gospel of Salvation in Christ. The Greek word is “kâ-rü's-sô”. It has to be proclaimed, published and announced publicly and with formality and gravity. It’s serious business, this spreading of the Gospel. Jesus comes with the ONLY WAY to have sins forgiven and the ONLY WAY to enter His Eternal Heavenly Kingdom.
The Needs of the Kingdom
Jesus wants again uses contemporary pictures or parables to present His Teachings. He sees the crowds of people who are in need and makes an analogy. Matthew describes People without Christ like Sheep without the Good Shepherd.
1. Sheep without a shepherd are in extreme danger by predators. The word used is Harassed, (“Skullo” in the Greek; you can see the word “skull”. ) It means “to strip off the skin, skinned, flay, to rend, mangle to vex, trouble, to give one's self trouble, trouble one's self”. Sheep without a shepherd are without protection and guidance.
The Old Testament leaders of Israel were ruthless and careless shepherds, not faithful to God as hirelings. Israel had been led into spiritual danger and destruction by them.
2. Sheep without a shepherd, and without THE GOOD Shepherd, are, therefore, Helpless: “Rhipto” (hrip'-to) means “to throw, throw down, to cast forward or before, to set down (with the suggestion of haste and want of care), to throw to the ground, prostrate.” Sheep without a shepherd who will save them will be cast down to death instead of being led to safe and green pastures (Ps. 23).
This was one of the issues that God had with most of His shepherds throughout Israelite history. 1 Kings 22:17: "I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, 'These people have no master." Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos screamed the same thing. So did Zechariah and Ezekiel: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,” it says in Ezekiel 34:8. Zechariah 10:2: “Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.”