“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Many of us go into crowded places; large stores, major downtown areas, airports, and other places where we see masses of humanity. We see them in news reports, TV programs and publications. Yet, how often do our thoughts turn to considering their real condition? Are we more concerned about getting our business done so we can get out of the crowd? Jesus gives us a wonderful example of how He looked at people with compassion because of their condition.
The effect of sin on humanity has brought a terrible distortion of God’s purpose for mankind. Sin has brought evil pursuits into the heart of man so that they “harass” their fellow man or woman to the point of feeling helpless. It would be unfair for me to mention some of the examples that have come to my attention lately, because as soon as I mention one, there are a thousand others just as bad; some worse than we can imagine.
Anger and frustration at perpetrators of evil will not bring relief. Electing certain people into the offices of government will not instantly launch a worldwide solution. Developing a better relief program only goes so far and is not the answer. There is an answer and Jesus points to the solution in the last phrase of this verse: “because they were…like sheep without a shepherd.”
We must carry this principle forward before we look at the next two verses. Compassion is part of being a shepherd. A true shepherd looks deeper than the surface problems to the root issues and leads the sheep to that answer. A shepherd will make huge sacrifices and suffer discomfort for himself so he can bring the sheep to a place of safety, comfort, rest, and satisfying food.
Are you carrying the gospel to the “harassed and helpless” because you have a shepherds heart? Tomorrow we will look at the next two verses where Jesus expands on the solution.
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