Wednesday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 9:35-38; Mark 6:6

The Shepherd and His Compassion

Today we take up a brief passage that seems to be something of a summary of all that has gone before.  Jesus had gone through all the cities and villages of Galilee, casting out demons, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead, and all the while preaching and teaching about the kingdom.  I have a quote here to give you from A. T. Robertson’s, Harmony of the Gospels (which I have used for these devotions), where he quotes a Mr. Hall: “[He] crowds into three short years actions and labours of love that might have adorned a century” (p. 78).  How true.  The Apostle John himself told us, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (21:25).

And what was the source of Jesus’ ministry – his tireless acts of kindness, his praying into the night without sleep, his preaching with such fervor?  Matthew tells us: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  It was our Lord’s compassion for others that kept him teaching, healing, and ministering to others’ needs.  If anything kept our Savior up at night, and I’m not saying anything did, but if anything did, it would have been his thoughts over his people.  “Sheep without a shepherd,” he described them.  Why?  Because the religious leaders – the priests, the preachers, the elders, the prophets, the teachers, you name it – had forsaken them.  They were too busy with themselves, be it for worldly power, money, or twisting Scripture to benefit themselves, they had left the people behind.

The Old Testament prophets spoke of such “shepherds” in several places (Jeremiah 23:1-4 for just one example).  Therefore, our Lord told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers unto his harvest.”  We never know when the harvest is plentiful; there have been times in church history when the harvest was plentiful and others when it was few.  Perhaps the harvest was few because the laborers were few.  What this passage teaches us is to be people of compassion, people who meet human need, people who are not afraid to speak a word of hope from the Lord.  Perhaps they will hear, perhaps not.  We are not responsible for the results; we are responsible to be faithful.  And let us not forget to pray that God would grant His Church shepherds who are pure of heart and full of compassion, and who will persevere when tribulation comes.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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