Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Matthew records this account of what Jesus did. As a disciple these words were spoken to him. He noticed what Jesus said and how he looked upon the people. Jesus looked at the people; he was moved with compassion. He noted their needs. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. Instead of turning to the people he turned to the disciples. This is a lesson for us and shows us our task as children of God.
We see the heart of the Master. His vision was not just on the outward but also on the inward. This was the same type of situation where he fed the 4,000 and 5,000. The people failed to bring food. They were hungry but wouldn’t go home. They wanted to stay with Jesus. In this instance Jesus saw them as we might see a busy shopping center. The parking lot is dangerous. People are concentrating on finding a parking spot and others are coming out with carts going to their cars and not paying attention to traffic. Inside people are going to and fro getting their items. What is on the minds of everyone? Driving up and down the interstate there are people from everywhere. What about their lives? Jesus saw the people and knew them. Our knowledge is limited. Jesus knew their physical and spiritual condition. He knew everything. He healed all manner of diseases. He taught the gospel. He educated them about what it meant to be a child of God. This scene moved him with compassion. He so saw and felt their need for a shepherd, someone to help them, to really love them. They hungered for someone to care. They didn’t enjoy being scattered. Being lost is what this means–aimless, seeking, searching for peace and happiness. People can’t find this in the world. They are looking for a shepherd who can give meaning to their life.
Each person has a purpose, even at conception. Jeremiah said Jesus knows us in our mother’s womb. He cares about all of us. In his infinite mercy God sent a Savior, a Shepherd. The people fainted and had no way to care for themselves. One person–Jesus–is all they need. We have a Shepherd. We are his sheep. As Christians we are always a sheep; this refers to our relationship with him. We’ll never get to the point that we don’t need to depend on our Shepherd. We will need Jesus till the day we die. We can’t be our own shepherd. We need the Good Shepherd.
Jesus turned to the disciples and said The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. If Jesus is such a good shepherd, omnipotent and ever present God, why do we need to witness? Because Jesus has so chosen to use his sheep as instruments. We are to be his feet, his mouth. We can’t use the excuse “I can’t do this or that.” His work is to seek, reach, to save. He wants to do it through us. We are sheep in context to our relationship with Jesus. The lost need the Lord. We come between them and the Lord. We have been found. They are still lost. We turn around and share our testimony to guide and direct others to Jesus so they can become his child like we are.
When the 4,000 and 5,000 men needed to be fed, the disciples knew there was not enough bread in town to feed them all. The people had spent their energy. Jesus could have brought manna down from heaven, but he told the disciples to give them something to eat. Their reaction: “What? We are to give them something?” Be ready to be the shepherd to those in our own lives who need Jesus.
Jesus had a heart for the lost. He had an eye out for them. He felt a burden for them. Think about your family and friends who don’t know the Lord. They’re hungry for someone to help them. They are sheep without a shepherd. It’s your responsibility to help. You’re saved to be the light of your world. Have a heart for them. Be available. Don’t stay on their back and down them. That’s being “Pharisee-ical”. They need a Christian to help them, to love them.
Like it or not, we are laborers in God’s vineyard. People want help. They want to be loved. We are not only sheep. We need to be shepherds to the lost by being the witness God has called us to be. Be the undershepherd. Don’t use the “I’m just a dumb sheep” excuse. It’s not the preacher or the Sunday school teacher’s job. You and I are responsible for those in our own lives. That entails being the Christian people need us to be. Have a heart for them. Be burdened for them. People can tell if you and I really care. Don’t ask a person if there is anything you can do for them. Just do it. God will show us; there is plenty to do. Jesus said go ahead into the harvest fields; it is ready. We are the laborers. Jesus is the Lord of the harvest.
There is no reason for anyone to be shepherd-less as long as a Christian is in the world. God has placed us in the lives of people. Be the shepherd to them that God has been to us. Be burdened enough to do something about it. Call them. Tell people you love them. Remember that a cup of water given in the name of Jesus is like doing it unto Jesus. Our prayer should be “Lord, help me take up my responsibility to shepherd someone to you.”