Summary: A look at the compassion that Jesus felt toward the lost and how we can move to be more like Him.
WHAT WAS JESUS' PRIMARY EMOTION TOWARD THE LOST? It was compassion.
- Matthew 9:36.
- Jesus’ primary emotion toward the lost was compassion.
- He saw them in their situation and He felt compassion for them.
- What is our primary emotion toward the lost?
- Let’s look at how we can get closer to where Jesus is. This passage gives us some insight in that direction.
CHANGING OUR EVANGELISM: We should long to give them good news, not a canned doctrine list.
- Much of our evangelism has the feel of a sales pitch. It makes me uncomfortable.
- Further, the actual “presentation” is often less a hopeful explanation of joyful life in Christ and more a list of the doctrines that you “need to believe in.” Now, obviously truth matters and doctrine has its place, but we don’t do a very good job of explaining how this “Good News” is actually good news and will tangibly make their life better.
- More often we ask them if they believe that Jesus died on the cross, that Jesus was raised from the dead, that they are a sinner, and do they want Jesus to live in their hearts? That’s all well and good – and it’s all important and true – but it fails to explain how it is good news for their life.
- The gospel is, literally, “Good News.” We should convey it in a way that shows that it is.
a. “I know that you’re feeling overwhelmed with your guilt, but I have some good news if you want to hear it.”
b. “I know you don’t know what direction to go, but I have some good news about how you can get that direction.”
c. “I know you have unanswered question about the point of life, but I have some good news about Someone who knows those answers.”
WHAT JESUS SAW AND WHAT HE DID:
- I think there is an inverted symmetry to these verses. There are basically four statements in v. 35 and four in v. 36. I think the first one in v. 35 goes with the last one in v. 36. The second one in v. 35 goes with the second to last one in v. 36. And so on.
- I think v. 36 tells us what He saw and v. 35 tells us what He did in response to that. Or, to put it a different way, v. 35 tells what He did and v. 36 tells us why He did that.
- As we look at these, we need to think about how we do (or don’t do) evangelism.
1. Jesus saw sheep without a shepherd; in response, He went.
- Verse 36 ends by telling us that Jesus saw the people as sheep without a shepherd. Aimless, defenseless, looking for direction and order, longing for a leader.
- Of course, today we often exalt in our independence. But when you look around there are so many wandering through life aimlessly, not knowing the right way to go.
- Jesus longs to provide them with a shepherd.
- Verse 35 tells us one of the things He did in response to that: He went.
- That is, Jesus went out to where they were. He didn’t wait on them to come to Him. He went out to where they were.
- It’s essential if we are to have a heart like Jesus that we be willing to go where lost people are. We can’t just open the doors of the church and say, “Everyone’s welcome!” and think we’ve done our part. We can’t just stay surrounded by our circle of church friends and say that we’ll be nice to an unsaved person whenever we encounter them.
2. Jesus saw people who were helpless; in response, He taught.
- Verse 36 tells us that Jesus saw that the people were helpless.
- What does that mean?
- I think it means that they didn’t know the path to make their lives better. The religious teachers of that day didn’t provide in their instruction a road to abundant and eternal life. The people wanted help in knowing how to live their lives well, how to make it, and how to know they were ok with God.
- Verse 35 tells us that Jesus taught.
- He gave them practical instructions on what to do to be right with God. He told them how to handle situations. For example, the majority of the Sermon on the Mount is straightforward application.