The ninth chapter of Matthew contains these two verses:
35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
It’s easy when we’re reading a passage such as this to think, okay—that’s Jesus doing His thing—and then move on to something else. Do we stop and really ponder on what this means? Frequently not.
Personally, I’ve read these lines, along with the rest of the chapter, many times. That has been my reaction to it, too, but yesterday, my wonderful Sunday School teacher made us all slow down and think about what was going on. “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them . . .”
When we’re in a crowd or walking along a sidewalk or walking through a mall, do we see the people, or do we just see a crowd—a mass of humanity gathered for an event or pushing along trying to get somewhere? Do we think about the people, or do we just wish the crowd were elsewhere instead of being in our way?
How many of the people we encounter on a given day are “distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd?” Every one of them was created in the image of God and after His likeness. They are all unique individuals who are very important to our heavenly Father.
A few years ago it was popular to say or write WWJD. What would Jesus do? He never saw a crowd. He saw individuals with problems and concerns, and He cared about each of those individual and each of those problems and concerns.
Do we really care WWJD? Do we want to be conformed to His image? If so, shouldn’t we share His care and concern for people?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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