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Offering Truth and Love

{Matthew 9:35-38; NLT}
Jesus traveled through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went, he healed people of every sort of disease and illness. He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, "The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, ask him to send out more workers for his fields."

While we may have made advances in technology since the time of Jesus the human need remains the same. Not only are people’s need the same, but also the majority of people are still unaware of where to turn to for help. Casual sex, drug use, and pornography are just some indications that people are in search of some how filling the need they have in their hearts.

How should the Church, the community of Jesus’ followers, respond to this reality?

If we are truly following the example of Jesus the first thing we are to do is to have compassion on the “sin-ners” we find all around us. Within the Church we tend to judge before we have compassion. We find some sort of sick satisfaction in telling people that they are sinning. Perhaps it would help to remember that the homosexual, the pornographer, and the drug user are not necessarily evil people, but they are looking for something to fill the need they find in their empty hearts or to heal the spiritual wounds that have been af-flicted on them over the years. While it is true that these people are living outside of God’s will they too are being deceived and manipulated by Satan. No matter how awful their lives may seem to be we have to remember that their lives are being stolen away by Satan and they don’t know where to turn to for help.

Not only did Jesus have compassion for these people, but He also spent time healing them and teaching them in order to help them understand the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness. For us this means we need to be active in the lives of other people. We need to be loving influences in the lives of our family and friends who do not know the love God that is found in Christ Jesus. Please remember that part of what being a follower of Jesus is all about is to engage the lives of other people.

Finally we are to pray for more workers. There are more people who are lost than there are people who saved. Many of us who are saved do very little to help those in need and focus our attention on ourselves and the management of our own sin. It is only through the conviction God’s calling that we begin to move out of our comfort zone and into the places of great need.

Donn Leach in What the Bible Says About Jesus commenting on this passage wrote; "Jesus knows that many are ready to repent if only some messenger bring the good news of the kingdom to them (Matt. 9:37, 38). But more messengers are needed. God can supply more messengers if His people will pray." Prayer is one of the most important things we can do as we seek to change the world. People are not changed by our wise words or logical arguments about the power of God. Rather it is our love for others that reveals to them just how much God loves them.

The first step in all of this is having compassion for the people of the world and seeing people as Jesus saw them. Jesus not only saw people’s sin, but He also saw their need. He knew that their only hope was love and truth not judgment and law. What are we offering to people?

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