Jesus is ministering to the multitudes. He went to ALL the cities and villages and into ALL the synagogues, and He healed ALL their sicknesses and ALL their diseases as he went preaching and teaching all the while!!!!

And then in verse 36 it’s as if Jesus stops for a moment and looks out over this multitude, this mass of humanity that was clamoring for Him and for His healing and for His teaching. It was at this point after all His ministering that He stopped and looked at this mass of humanity and was overcome with emotion. The Bible says in verse 36 that He was moved with compassion. The word there means a deep down in the intestines or guttural feeling of overwhelming pity and compassion for the people. It is a very strong and intense emotion!!

All of us at one time or another in our lives has had this strong feeling of compassion, and it is this compassion that Jesus had for these multitudes that were coming to Him!!! If we are going to be obedient servants of the Lord Jesus Christ in this church age and do the work that He has left for us to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, then we are going to have to have that same compassion that He had. Let’s examine several things about this passage of scripture.

#1) Jesus Saw The Need:

Look again at Matthew 9:36 again,

"But when he saw the multitudes."

I believe that these are many of the same people that have been watching Jesus as He:

-Healed the Palsied man.

-Ate with the publicans and sinners.

-Raised Jairus’ daughter.

-Healed the woman with the issue of blood.

-Healed the two blind men.

-Cast the demon out of the dumb man.

-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.

When Jesus saw the multitudes, He saw them as a great opportunity to minister, teach, and to witness. He didn’t see them as a hindrance or as a burden. He saw them as a sheep without a shepherd. Sheep are animals that need a shepherd. The shepherd must lead the sheep to eat, to drink, for protection, for guidance, for healing, basically for everything. Sheep are not too smart, and without a shepherd the sheep will eat the wrong food, fall and not be able to get up, go in the wrong direction and wander away and put themselves in danger.

And so Jesus looked at this multitude, the thousands upon thousands of people who were coming to Him for something that they desperately needed.

What will it take for us to realize that there are untold millions of people right in our area that will die and go to an eternal hell forever and ever unless someone takes them the good news of the gospel. Do you see them as Jesus saw them?

Someone said that if we were able to take a ten second elevator ride to hell and see the souls that are there suffering in torments for all eternity, that we would be the greatest evangelists that the world has ever seen. We must see men, women and children as Jesus saw them, without God and without hope.

R. A. Torrey said,

"If you in any way abate the doctrine of hell, it will abate your zeal."

A.W. Tozer said,

"The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions." 

#2) Jesus Had Compassion on Them:

Verse 36 again,

"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."

As we said earlier, when Jesus looked out and saw this huge crowd of people that just kept coming to Him nonstop, He paused and had a very strong and intense feeling come over Him. Again, compassion means that He literally became sick inside. Jesus was heartsick, burdened, and brokenhearted over His lost city and nation.

Oh, how desperately we need brokenhearted people who will weep over their lost neighbors, friends, and families. How desperately we need people who will weep over their cities and communities. We need to see our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, co-workers, and acquaintances as Jesus saw the multitudes. When Jesus saw the multitude as sheep without a shepherd, that fact just tore Him up on the inside.

The problem that we as Christians have most times is that we simply do not care. And if we did care, then we would be doing more for Christ! It’s that simple.

Psalm 126:5-6 says,

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Just as Jesus was moved with compassion, we must also be deeply concerned for the lost souls of men, women and children. There is a promise attached to Psalm 126 that says if we will sow the seed with compassion, then we will sow bountifully with rejoicing. I think the problem that we have today is that we are just not sowing with compassion. May God help us to not go through the motions and that we will have the compassion of Christ as we go after the lost.

#3) Jesus responded with Prayer:

Look at Matthew 9:37-38,

"Then saith he unto his disciples, 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."

Jesus saw that the problem with the harvest is not with the crop or in this case the souls of men. There are multitudes of lost people coming to Christ and He says that problem is that there are not enough laborers to do the work of harvesting. The problem is with the work force.

Remember in the gospel of John chapter four when Jesus told the woman at the well that He was the Messiah and then she went back to her town and told everyone about Jesus. And another multitude came out to see Jesus that day. And as that multitude came running to Christ, I believe that He told His disciples to look out at this oncoming multitude of Samaritans as an approaching harvest and He said to them in John 4:35,

"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

And just like the fields were white unto harvest that day, they are still white unto harvest in 2006!! Jesus did not say that the harvest was lacking, He said there was not enough laborers to gather the entire crop!! And so what did Jesus do?

He commanded us to pray for laborers to send into the work of the harvest. Jesus did not say this to complain about the lack of workers or to berate the people because they were not working faithfully. He commanded that we pray for them just as fervently as we pray for church members and for the lost.

It has been my earnest prayer since I first came to this church that we pray for laborers. It was a problem in Jesus’ day and it will be a problem today. But we are encouraged to pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth the laborers. He does it not us, but we must be faithful to pray!!

#4) Jesus responded with Action:

Look at Matthew 10:1,

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

In Matthew 10:5 the Bible says,

"These twelve Jesus sent forth."

Go down to verses 7 & 8,

"And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."

See what happens when you pray? The very ones that Jesus told to pray for laborers became the laborers!! The ones that He commanded to "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest", become the very workforce that is necessary to get the harvest completed.

What are we going to do to have a part in this great end time harvesting of souls?

I trust that we will not be like the prophet Jeremiah when he said in Jeremiah 8:20,

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."

Let’s pray as if we are the only ones that the Lord will use. Pray as if everything depends upon God and work as if everything depended on us. We must respond as Isaiah did when he saw God. In Isaiah 6:1-3,

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."