Matthew 9:35-38 - 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."
In Christ there is love for our world, just as it is. We often talk about the land in which our Lord lived out His life as the "Holy Land." Actually, it was just as unholy then as the world is today. Daily existence was a daily tragedy for people then just as it is now. Unhappy people looked for a way out then just as they do now. Of the Holy Land then our Lord said , "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down" (Mark 13:2b). For the world in which He lived, our Lord wept. Yet, He never despaired. He did not tell His little band of disciples, "Men, it's useless. There is nothing we can do. Let's get out while the getting is good."
Absolutely not! Never hopeless, our Lord had compassion on people. He gave Himself for the "harassed and helpless" people, those who are without God and without hope in the world. For people like that a great story goes forth today just as it did then. That story is the Good News of the kingdom, that in Christ Jesus there is full forgiveness of every sin and a redeemed life for all sinners who accept the forgiveness only the Savior can bring. Christ understands the world we live in, And He stands ready to give new life to people like you and me. Trust in Him with your whole heart and be saved from the malice and folly and futility of a life lived without Him.
God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. The Son is reaping a great harvest in this old world of ours through His ministry of compassion. It's exercised by all kinds of people who have a heart for their family, friend, and neighbor, because they have a heart for the Lord.
It's important for us who know Jesus as our Savior to be a follower, a fellow worker in the harvest field. This is the direction Jesus Christ points you and me—toward the world. It's the world He loves, the world He has compassion for. It's important that the world knows His compassion through you and me.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, let the light of Jesus shine through me. In His Name I pray. Amen.
From "Toward the World," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Have you ever been to Israel or the Middle East? Would you like to go?
2. Does the world seem more or less "harassed and helpless" than it did 20 years ago? What accounts for the change good or bad, do you think?
3. There are many ways to work in the Lord's harvest field. How do you do that?
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