Jesus, Man for Others. Matthew 9.35-37
When I saw her standing there, she had the strangest look on her face.
I mean, I had just had a lengthy conversation with her following the Sunday morning service, but what was happening, what was wrong? ‘Laura … hey, are you okay?’ ‘Yeah, I’m just looking at Marilyn walk away—worried about her; she’s so lost without Al.’ Al had passed suddenly when the couple was in Paris. See it has been a long time since Marilyn had to figure out life on her own; the couple were married some 50+ years. ‘It is hard to see people suffering, you know?’ She turned and looked at me. And I knowingly looked back into her soulful eyes.
Yeah, I know.
There is a lot of emotional pain spread around these days, and a portion of my time is devoted to meeting with those in turmoil and distress, trying to offer a listening ear, biblical counsel, encouragement and the constant word to ‘ask God for wisdom’. It is impossible to remain unaffected by others’ hurt; and I know I was not meant to be unaffected.
|The gospels regularly describe Jesus as being ‘moved with compassion.’ Jesus had one big heart, and as we know, a very hefty prayer life in order to be able to carry others’ burdens, as well as meet their physical needs. “I have read Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and beautiful; but I never read in either of them: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give thee rest.”1,2 True that. Only Jesus can take our burdens, and in turn, give peace and rest.
Matthew chapter nine concludes with several powerful statements:
First, this sums up Jesus’ mission on earth:
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.”
Then, Matthew again, shows us Jesus’ tender heart. While the Pharisees and Sadducees liked to remain separate from ‘the people’, Jesus cared for them—his heart went out to them: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Finally, Jesus makes a statement that is just as true today~
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”3
So my friend, who stood out front church and watched Marilyn walk away, she had compassion on the grieving heart of her church friend, which came from the same heart Jesus had
~when he taught of new life,
~when he talked of his Father’s kingdom that would have no end
~when he had compassion on the people,
recognizing their lost condition, their hopelessness, their loneliness
~when he could see that there were many who were searching,
but not enough people to point them to God.
Jesus was not afraid to show emotion. While being the most courageous man who ever was, he also exhibited the greatest humility—moved with compassion, even to the point of tears. ‘Jesus lived out an ideal for masculine fulfillment that [more than] nineteen centuries later still eludes most men.’4 He established a model for his followers to pour out their lives for others. In fact, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing from prison, spoke of Jesus as “the man for others”.5
As he looked out on those who had need of a Savior, he commented that there were not enough workers to take the hope of Heaven to them—he challenged them, he challenged you and me to take the gospel to a hurting world. ‘You in?
1 - Augustine
2 – Matthew 11.28-29
3 – Matthew 9.35-37
4 – The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey, p. 88
5 – Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, published posthumously. www.ctlibrary.com/ch/1991/issue32, Bonhoeffer’s Costly Theology