The spectacular nature of Jesus’ ministry attracted large crowds. When Jesus saw the crowds of people that gathered to hear Him teach, He had COMPASSION for them. Jesus knew their desperate condition, He understood the life they were pursuing would only leave them battered, bruised, discouraged, and hopeless. He knew the crowds were running after everything the world offers…pleasures, success, money, relationships…thinking it would satisfy them apart from God, but Jesus knew it NEVER WOULD. So when Jesus saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them.
Being a disciple of Jesus means that we see people far from God the same way Jesus does. It means we align our hearts for the crowd with His.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus has compassion for people and calls us to do the same. However, what Jesus commands His disciples to do in response to His compassion is a little surprising. I would expect Jesus to tell His disciples, “Here’s the harvest, now go!” After all, six months earlier Jesus told His disciples that He would make them fishers of men. But instead, Jesus says, “Here’s the harvest, now pray”. He commands the disciples to PRAY and ask God to send someone to reach the crowds with the Gospel.
After telling His disciples to pray for someone to carry Gospel to the crowds…Jesus equips them to be the answer to their own prayers!
You may be thinking, of course they can be the answer to their own prayers…they are the 12 Apostles for crying out loud!
What I love about this story is that Jesus did NOT entrust the Kingdom of God to a bunch of well-educated & trained professionals. Instead He chose a rag-tag group of renegades to carry the Gospel to the world. The 12 apostles were ordinary men: four were fishermen, one was a tax-collector, and we don’t even know the occupation of the other seven. The group is filled with doubters, skeptics, and political radicals. Some have quick tempers, others are impulsive, and many served Jesus in obscurity. One was even a traitor that would betray Jesus with a kiss.
Here’s the point: Seeing that God used these men in such a powerful way gives me confidence that He can use me as well!
While the work of salvation can only be completed by Jesus Christ, the witness of this salvation can only be accomplished by His followers. Jesus’ ONLY plan to reach the world and take the message that our sins are forgiven through His death on the cross & resurrection from the dead, was to entrust the Gospel to His disciples and send them out to make disciples who would make other disciples.
The same is true today. In our neighborhoods, offices, schools, and communities…we are God’s plan to carry the Gospel where we live, work, and play!