Scripture 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.
37. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
38. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Matthew 10:5. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.
6. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.
7. As you go, preach this message: `The kingdom of heaven is near.'
8. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Intro. (i) If asked what was main obstacle to evangelism ö what suggestions? e.g. materialism, communism, indifference, false religion, indifference etc
(ii) Ref to Lausanne Congress 1974 ö Great occasion, wonderful fellowship, preaching and teaching. Ref.ô different . workshops, mostly under heading: ÎHow to evangelise the: poor, rich, Jews, Muslims, Hindhus, suburbanpopulation, educated , illiterate etc
Major emphasis was on the evangelistic target ie.. the various categories, difficulties, methods etc Similarly, a major study of so-called Îunevangelised peoplesâ groups them according to their apparent degree of receptivity to the gospel.
iii. Jesus saw things differently - He saw a harvest ripe and ready to be reaped cf John 4: 35. Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
He saw the obstacles to outreach, not so much in those to be reached, but in the lack of labourers or workers. cf Matt:9:37 ö hence the title of todayâs sermon: ÎWhere are the Workersâ?
iv. Jesus in His example and His teaching suggests how this situation may be remedied.
I Compassion to Display
Show in example of Jesus: quote Carson p111, ÎWhen Jesus confronts the worldâ
a. In His activity - re Matt.9:35 ö
"Jesus faced the same pressure. He Îwent through all the towns and villages" of Galilee, we are told (9:35), "teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.â According to Josephus, a Jewish historian writing about a generation after Jesus, there were 204 cities and villages in Galilee, each with no fewer than fifteen thousand persons. Even if the latter figure is applicable only to the walled cities, and not to the villages (which is not what Josephus says), a conservative estimate points to a very large population, even if smaller than the three million that Josephusâs figures indicate. If Jesus were to speak in two towns or villages a day, it would still take about four months to canvass the lot. Quite apart from the sheer energy needed to keep up such a pace was the emotional drain of serving more and more people who pressed to hear him and see him. This pressure was at least part of the reason why on another occasion he felt it necessary to withdraw from the crowds and attempt to escape by boat across the lake"
Applic. Re visit or phone call to make ö often reluctant. Why? - Compassion lacking.
(b) In His attitude ö Matt.9:36 ÎWhen he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.â
NB ö compassion = very strong expression cf Barclay:
(i) ÎThe word which is used for moved with compassion (splangcnisqeiV ) is the strongest word for pity in the Greek language. It is formed from the word splangcna which means the bowels, and it describes the compassion which moves a man to the deepest depths of his being. In the gospels, apart from its use in some of the parables, it is used only of Jesus (Matt.9:36; Matt.14:14; Matt.15:32; Matt.20:34;â = Compassion that comes from the Îgutsâ.
(ii) Dev. Nb You can tell the difference between simply Îfeeling sorryâ for someone and real compassion, in that I can walk by a beggar & feel sorry for him and do nothing ö but if I feel compassion I will do something for him.
iii. Why did He feel compassion? Because He perceived crowd harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. That is what moved Jesus on this occasion.
Quote Barclay: "The words that are used to describe the state of the common people are vivid words. The word that we have translated bewildered is skulmenoi. It can describe a corpse which is rayed and mangled; someone who is plundered by rapacious men, or vexed by those without pity, or treated with wanton insolence; someone who is utterly wearied by a journey which seems to know no end. The word that we have translated dejected is errimenoi. It means laid prostrate. It can describe a man prostrated with drink, or a man laid low with mortal wounds.