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Seeing with Compassion

Posted by Cliff Coss on

Matthew 9:35-38 records two great fishing lessons in these four verses.

This week’s lesson was summarized by Matthew after the disciples had observed Jesus as they traveled though the cities and villages of Galilee. Matthew says, “He had compassion on the crowds because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Throughout their journeys the disciples were impressed by the endless compassion Jesus had for the crowds. Jesus sought out the company of sinners, rather than avoiding them, because, He came to save them. Jesus readily healed those who suffered physical ailments, because, he saw their suffering and faith. The blind received sight, and the deaf and mute were restored to health. He released people oppressed by Satan’s demons. He feed hungry crowds rather than let them faint from hunger. He imparted good news and hope to a downcast and oppressed people. In every way He demonstrated His understanding of the people’s condition. Therefore, the disciples concluded that He had compassion on the crowds like a flock of sheep without a shepherd!

So what application can a “fisher of men” gain from this passage?

I must ask myself, “am I moved with compassion by the spiritual condition of the people in my world? For me this does not come naturally or automatically. Instead, it takes prayer, effort, time, and being reminded that Christ loves the people in my world just as He loves me. For prayer, I use a web site called Pray4EveryHome.org. This tool provides me with the names of the people in my neighborhood and reminds me to pray for them. The effort comes as I make the time and take the opportunities that occur with my neighbors. It takes repeated meetings to see beyond the surface of my neighbor’s lives. Finally, as I recall that Christ values each person and recall the great mercy He has shown to me, then I begin to see with the compassion of Christ.

Having a compassion for people, that reflects Christ’s compassion, is the only power great enough to keep me fishing for men. This is what keeps me praying for wayward children, the neighbor with an unfriendly dog, a pot smoking relative, and neighbors with whom I have very little in common. These are all people who need the compassion of Christ.

Remember, fishing for men requires seeing with the compassion of Christ and beseeching God for laborers to meet the urgent need.

Matthew 9:35-38 (ESV)
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”


(image: By Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38131336)

Tags: discipleship, evangelism, faith, sharing