- One of the great missionary passages in the New Testament is found in Matthew 9. Jesus, moved with compassion, looked out over the multitudes. In 9:36 we read, "He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." Turning to His disciples, He said to them, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
Jesus traveled through the cities and villages teaching, preaching and healing every sickness and every distress. Yet, when He told them that the child they knew was dead was "not dead, but sleeping" (Luke 8:52-53), "they laughed Him to scorn" (Mt 9:24). He was rejected in His own town of Nazareth. When He healed the deaf, the mute and the blind right in their presence...when He cast "many demons" out of a man living in the tombs "exceedingly fierce so that no one could pass"...when the lame got up and walked...some of them still said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons," while others who saw the miracles were "seized with great fear" and "begged Him to depart from their region" (Mt 8:34). Yet, Jesus did not give up. He traveled, preaching the "gospel of the Kingdom," the good news that the promised and long-awaited Messiah had finally come. Is there any wonder why He was moved with compassion? In spite of the powerful words of truth and wisdom that made the learned marvel, despite the miracles they witnessed, still they rejected the One who would soon be nailed to a Cross that they might live.
Our world today is not so different from the one in which Jesus walked. Despite the Word of Truth being made known to us today by the Spirit of the Living God, it is quickly tossed aside for a more sin-friendly version. Miracles are too often casually regarded as mere coincidences or luck. Are you moved with compassion as Jesus is? Without compassion for the lost, there will be no desire to pray for the harvest that sits plentiful and ready. Jesus said the harvest truly is plentiful. As laborers, let each of us pray the Lord of the harvest as we step out recognizing the faithfulness of the Lord of His harvest.