Friday, November 9, 2012

The Shepherd speaks to His sheep

"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. ” (Matthew 9:36-38 KJV).

Barnes Notes:
But when he saw the multitudes - That followed him from place to place. When he saw their anxiety to be instructed and saved.

He was moved with compassion on them - He pitied them.

Because they fainted - The word used here refers to the weariness and fatigue which results from labor and being burdened. He saw the people burdened with the rites of religion and the doctrines of the Pharisees; sinking down under their ignorance and the weight of their traditions; neglected by those who ought to have been enlightened teachers; and scattered and driven out without care and attention. With great beauty he compares them to sheep wandering without a shepherd. Judea was a land of flocks and herds. The faithful shepherd, by day and night, was with his flock. He defended it, made it to lie down in green pastures, and led it beside the still waters, Psalm 23:2. Without his care the sheep would stray away. They were in danger of wild beasts. They panted in the summer sun, and they did not know where the cooling shade and stream was. So, said the Saviour, is it with this people. No wonder that the compassionate Redeemer was moved with pity.

Jesus is a wonderful, wonderful Savior. Jesus went about preaching and proclaiming....and healing. Let's look at the healing for a moment.

John wrote that Jesus did so many miracles that all the books of the world could not contain them. (John 21:25). We read the record of the types of miracles but certainly not the entire body of miraculous work that Jesus did. Most of the miracles were healing. (Matthew 9:36). You note the verse says Jesus drove out every sickness and every disease. This means every type and every last one. For all intents and purposes, the Land was cleansed from disease during Jesus's ministry.

Blindness? Healed. (John 9:6-7). Paralyzed? Healed. (Mark 2:12). Internal injury? Healed. (Mark 5:21-43). Leprosy? Healed. (Matthew 8:1-4). No matter what the sickness or injury, whether it was from birth or recent, no matter if it was internal or external, Jesus healed them.

When Jesus was concluding His ministry, "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1). Healing continued (for a while, pp.19-26).

Why would Jesus be so consumed with not only proclaiming and preaching, but healing? MacArthur interprets that it is the compassion of Jesus that is the basis for Jesus doing this work. That Jesus wanted us to know that He cares, that God is concerned with each of them. Would a good shepherd see a sheep with an injury and not care for it? Of course He would bind their leg, minister to their illness. The sheep otherwise would be so scared and in such pain! A good shepherd helps His sheep.

The Pharisees had been preaching a distant God, a harsh god, an inattentive God. The people, as the opening verse stated, were sheep without a Shepherd. Even though God was on His throne and entirely involved in the people's lives and His care for them just as potent as the day He created Adam, the people did not know it. They were being led by false teachers proclaiming false doctrine. The worst impact of that false doctrine was that they were fainting and scattering.

Notice a second thing about Jesus and His healing. It was instant and it was total. Each person He healed was made whole. If you read Colossians, Paul preaches that Jesus is ALL we need. All that Jesus does is perfect and entire. This includes the healings, as we see from the following sample verses:

"And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague." (Mark 5:34)

"Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment." (Matthew 9:22)

"And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath." (John 5:9)

"And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." (Luke 17:19).

The healings Jesus performed in His compassion as Shepherd unto His sheep were complete. It is the same with His spiritual healing. He makes us whole, instantly. Our sanctification (growth in Christ over our lives) is progressive, but when we are justified, the spiritual healing at the moment of our conversion is whole, complete, and entire. That is what the Book of Colossians is about. Read the Colossians 1-2 and note how many times you read the words 'fullness', 'all', 'filled', 'fully'.

He is our all in all, His work is perfect and complete. It is complete in us. Far from being a distant and uncaring God, our Christ is loving and compassionate. He is our Shepherd, and we need never wander or faint again. Though we long for the restful pastures and still waters of the Kingdom in body and in presence, we do have that rest and calm now on earth until the Day. Our Shepherd is mighty and is standing at the center of our lives with His crook, caring for each of us every moment. His eye is upon His sheep. I pray that you hear His voice, speaking love and care to you now.

"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. " (John 10:14-16)

Selah.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written Elizabeth, thank you. Laura

    ReplyDelete

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