The Next Step

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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

In these verses Matthew concisely summarizes Jesus’ threefold earthly ministry–teaching, preaching, and healing.

“When a person sees the excellence of the gospel, he senses the beauty and loveliness of the divine scheme of salvation. His mind is convinced that it is of God, and he believes it with all his heart. The light of the gospel is the glory of Christ, his holiness and beauty. Clearly, it is this divine light, shining into our hearts, that enables us to see the beauty of the gospel and have a saving belief in Christ. This supernatural light shows us the superlative beauty and loveliness of Jesus, and convinces us of His sufficiency as our Saviour. Only such a glorious, majestic Saviour can be our Mediator, standing between guilty, hell-deserving sinners such as ourselves, and an infinitely holy God. This supernatural light gives us a sense of Christ that convinces us in a way nothing else ever could.” -Jonathan Edwards
This summation was to demonstrate, particularly to his Jewish readers, that Christ was indeed their long awaited Savior. All of our Lord’s actions were intended to convince the Jewish people that God’s hand was moving at this time in history to accomplish His purposes. Yes, the time had fully come. His hearers were in turn each held responsible to repent–turn from their sin and wickedness–and believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

It is no different today! Each one of us are called to turn away from our sin and believe the Jesus Christ is our Savior! God was and is the giver of repentance and faith. He never changes. We can rest secure in the unchangeable Lord and His life giving Word:

“I the LORD do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89)

Jesus demonstrated compassion to the harassed and helpless. It is not a pretty sight when sheep are left without a shepherd. They are bothered by wolves, bothered by parasites, and bothered by their thick coats. They are senseless wanderers in a trackless waste and are unable to help themselves. We are quite like them. Jesus looked at the lot of human suffering before His holy eyes and His soul felt deep compassion. He hurt because they hurt. Never subscribe to the theory that the Lord Jesus does not care about our pain, problems, or predicaments. Even when He is silent, even when the wind keeps blowing, He cares and He cares deeply. He rises to show us compassion.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)

“While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Jesus describes the great sea of human need by stating in Matthew that the harvest was plentiful. In every generation it is so. We are to open our eyes and ears to our spheres. We too live in a time of a plentiful harvest. Jesus tells us to pray, asking the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers into the fields.

He not only asks us to pray, but He also commands us to “Go!” Go to your neighbor, co-worker, waitress, or classroom. Go to the furthest ends if God is leading. If He sets before our eyes a need, we are the ones to fill it, or at the very least, to do our part. If we have two feet and a heartbeat and we are His children there is a plan for our life and He is desirous for us to walk in it for His glory.

Take It to Heart

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

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