Matthew 9:35-3835And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and every weakness and infirmity. 36When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.
As Jesus was going all over healing and teaching and preaching the gospel, throngs of people surrounded Him. It says in verse 36 when He saw the throngs He was moved with compassion for them because they were hopeless. It says they were like sheep without a shepherd. Now I hate to say it but sheep are not known for being very intelligent animals. Thus the reason they have a shepherd, to lead them, to guide them, to protect them and to keep them going in the right direction. Jesus was concerned about the people because He saw that they didn’t have anyone to guide them. In John 21 we see the story of Jesus after His resurrection as He meets with some of His disciples. He talks to Peter in verse 15-17- 15When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs. Verses 16 & 17 contain the same question- Jesus says, “Peter do you love me?” Peter says “Yes”, and Jesus says “then feed my sheep”. Even after all that time Jesus was still concerned with the people. He wanted to make sure they had someone to be the shepherd in their lives.
In verse 37 He says the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. There were plenty of religious leaders running around- everywhere Jesus went they were critiquing Him. There were lots of disciples- more than just the twelve followed Him around. There were many people that were affected by the ministry of Jesus. How then could He say that the laborers are few? Perhaps although many knew the truth, they were unwilling to put in the work necessary to share that truth with others. This made me think about the modern day church. I wonder if Jesus would say the same thing today. There are many churches throughout the world, many religious leaders, many people who call themselves followers of Christ. But I have to wonder how many of them are truly concerned with reaching the lost. How many of them are willing to put forth the effort to share the truth of the gospel with the people they meet. Are you willing? Are you willing to become one of the laborers? Are you willing to proclaim the good news of the gospel to those you come into contact with?