Sheep Need A Shepherd: Matthew 9:35-38

Focus Passage: Matthew 9:35-38 (GNT)

35 Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness. 36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38 Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”

Read Matthew 9:35-38 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In one of Matthew’s transition passages, we see a brief glimpse of how Jesus viewed people, and in this passage, we can see an amazing picture of where we are living in the world today, almost two thousand years later.

To set the stage, Matthew tells us, “Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness.” (v. 35)

While traveling, teaching, preaching, and healing, large crowds were attracted to Jesus, and they came to Him for help. Matthew tells us what Jesus’ reaction was when He saw the people coming to Him: “As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (v. 36)

Jesus felt pity for the crowd, because they were “worried”, “helpless”, and “like sheep without a shepherd”. We could say these people were longing for something greater than what they had. They were searching for something that was truly significant. These people needed a leader who could inspire them, help them, and restore their faith, hope, and trust.

This is an amazing picture of the world we live in today. While technology has turned this world into looking completely different than it did in the first century, the common theme running through most people’s lives is a desire to find significance, and a desire to find someone, something, or an idea truly worth following.

In life’s busyness, it is too easy for us to get lost simply trying to stay caught up with everything that is happening that we don’t even have time to spend looking for something better. We hope and dream, but don’t follow it up with action or searching. Jesus sees this mentality in the crowd that came out to find Him, and His “heart was filled with pity for them”.

Jesus’ heart is filled with love for the crowds living today as well. He feels sorry for those who are living with worry, feeling helpless, and those moving through life with no clear direction. He has helped people who have been like this in the past, and through what we can learn from those people as it has been passed through time in the Bible, Jesus can help those of us living like this today.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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