”Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”
Matthew 9:35-38, the Message Bible
Jesus, as Lord and Savior has a perspective that we don’t have. He perceives to the very heart of people, right through and into the confusion and helplessness. He is disturbed by what he sees, and is emotionally touched by the people who pass by him. We are not this perceptive, unfortunately.
Jesus responds by commanding his disciples. “Look at them! Pray for them!” We live in a world that is plumb full of brokenness. No one has been allowed to go unscathed. We all have scars, everyone of us, and prayer is how we are healed. This dynamic needs to work in us and through us.
But the verdict is in, we need a Shepherd. There is such a great harvest, that prayer is our only hope of reaching these. Now, there is a lot of things we rather do then pray. We can have conferences and special meetings. We can make videos and create TV shows on the harvest. Most of these things are good, they’re purposeful and probably God directed. But if we choose not to pray, then we completely ‘miss the mark.’
But the real, deep-down core is the need people have is to be shepherded by their Creator and Savior. That is the most profound need we have. It is the basic requirement of this moment. It can not be minimized.
Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms,
Hugging them as he carries them,
leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.
This is a messianic prophecy that describes the Messiah’s work. We believe that it continues to tell of his work among those who are disoriented and who need to escape distorted views. Only a Shepherd could fully understand the needs of his flock. We must share in this vision, and carry this burden.