Sigmund Freud, whether you like him or not, was one of the most influential thinkers in recent times.
His work has largely contributed to the state of psychiatry today.
But when Sigmund Freud died at the age of 83, he was a bitter and disillusioned man.
One of Freud’s issues was that he had little compassion for the common person.
Freud wrote in 1918, 'I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole.
In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all." (Veritas Reconsidered, p. 36) As a result, Freud died friendless.
His last days were very bitter.
All of his followers had even broken ties with him.
In our passage for today, we are going to read about someone else who’s friends cut ties with him when he died, but not because he had a lack of compassion.
In fact this perfect demonstrated perfect compassion.
Obviously, the man I am talking about is Jesus.
Please join me in turning to the Bible to see this perfect compassion that Jesus demonstrated.
Our passage for today is found in Matthew 9:35-38.
/Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out /
/workers into his harvest field."/
This short passage is a transition in Matthew’s gospel.
As we will see in a minute, Matthew is using these verses to summarize what has come before, and he uses it as a springboard for what is to come.
In this section of transition, we can see things that Jesus does.
First of all, */Jesus demonstrates kingdom work/*.
Next, */Jesus reveals the heart of a kingdom worker/*.
And finally, */Jesus calls his disciple to ask God to send kingdom workers/*.
So point number 1: Jesus demonstrates kingdom work.
Matthew has spent the last four chapters of his gospel describing Jesus participating in a multitude of activities.
Matthew summarizes these activities using these words: Teaching, Preaching, and Healing.
In the last few chapter of this book, Matthew describes some of Jesus most controversial teachings.
In Matthew chapters 5 through 7, we read of Jesus’ teaching not only his disciples, but also vast crowds of people.
His teaching include such hot-button topics as: interpreting the law, how to handle divorce, the proper way to pray, the proper way to fast, what terms like ‘adultery’ and ‘murder’ actually mean.
And this is not easy teaching to hear.
He is not toeing a party line, or trying to make any friends.
Instead, he is turning people’s world views on their heads.
Repeatedly, he uses the phrase: “You have heard that it was said,...but I tell you...”
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”
“You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
He is most certainly turning people’s world views on their heads.
He is teaching the people that what they have been taught all of their lives isn’t necessarily true.
And his biggest shocker is yet to come!
Not only does Jesus spend his time teaching, but he also spent his time preaching.
And if people thought that his teaching was a little hard to handle, his preaching was even more so!
What did he preach to the people?
He was preaching the good news of the kingdom!
But not the good news of the kingdom that people were used to hearing.
He was preaching that the way to get into the kingdom was narrow, not wide.
He was preaching that for people to enter the kingdom, their righteous has to be greater than that of the most righteous people around.
He even went so far as to say that those who were anticipating a seat at the feast in the Kingdom of heaven will have their seat taken from them, only to be replaced by people who have come from far and wide.
Was Jesus saying that people outside of Israel were going to be part of the kingdom?
Yes he was.
Next, Matthew shows us that Jesus was not just all talk.
Not only could he talk the talk, but he could walk the walk.
Matthew records some incredible miracles that Jesus performed as he was teaching and preaching to the people:
§ He healed people of leprosy
§ He calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee
§ He cured Peter’s mother-in-law of sickness.
§ He cast out demons.
§ He healed the blind and the mute
§ He even raised a little girl from the dead!
Ok, so what does all this mean?
In summary, what this means is that Jesus was going from town to town—everywhere that he went—he was teaching people, he was preaching the good news to them, and he was healing them of all their sickness and disease.
Jesus demonstrated kingdom work.
He lived out kingdom work to its fullest.
So, from verse 35, we have seen that Jesus demonstrated Kingdom work.
Next as we read verse 36, we will see that Jesus also reveals the heart of a Kingdom worker.
/When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd./
Jesus most certainly drew large crowds because of his teaching, preaching, and healing.
Anyone who comes along and doing and saying spectacular things like was Jesus was doing and saying would obviously draw a crowd.
But instead of thinking to himself “How great is this?
Look at how people are coming out to see me?”, he thought, “These poor, harassed, and helpless people.”
Instead of being arrogant, Jesus reacted with compassion.
His attention was not on himself, but on the people.
The leaders of Israel in the days of Jesus truly were harassing the people.
The religious leaders were notorious for creating strict laws for the people to follow, especially when it came to the observation of the Sabbath.
The leaders were heaping burdens on the people, telling them “you can’t do this” and “you can’t do that.”
The leaders didn’t love the people like a shepherd loves his sheep and takes care of them.
Instead of caring for the people, they cared about themselves.
They were more concerned with appearances and with their positions of power than they were with the people.
But Jesus was different.
He did not look at the people, thinking “they are doing this wrong” and “they are doing that wrong.”
He didn’t look at them with scorn or with disappointment.
Instead, he looked on them with compassion.
He loved them like a shepherd loves his sheep.
He cared about them and about their well-being where the religious leaders only cared about themselves.
Jesus wanted the people to feel safe.
He wanted them to be cared for and to thrive.
The compassion of Jesus is the crucial point of this passage.
It is the point at which the passage turn.
One verse prior, Matthew summarized what had been happening.
One verse later, Matthew is foreshadowing what is to come.
What came before and what is to come all hinges on the compassion of Jesus.
It is out of his compassion that Jesus demonstrates Kingdom work.