the timothy project
Posted: March 2nd, 2012
Every morning, I commute to work in my car. On the ride in, I encounter stop lights galore. I often wonder why they are not synced to my schedule, so I don’t have to stop at every one of them, and watch the bikers and the long boarders whisk past me. I encounter pedestrians walking across the street to get to class. They have priority access, even when I am running late, I am told. I encounter traffic like Dave Matthews sings, “Traffic jam, got more cars than the beach got sand.” In the traffic jams (or train crossings), I often think about the work, the activity that is being delayed by me being in the car.
The stop lights, the pedestrians, the long boards, the traffic, all of these things appear to be keeping me from work. They are inhibiting me from doing my job, or so it appears. Could it be that the old saying proves true, appearances are deceiving?
In Matthew 9, we find Jesus working miracle after miracle. The woman with the hemorrhage is healed (vs. 20), the synagogue official’s daughter is awoken from ‘sleep’ (vs. 24), the blind man gains sight (vs. 29), and the demon is cast out of the man (vs. 33). In a world seeking answers to problems and searching for a long awaited Messiah, these miracles and His teachings began to gather large crowds of people. People like teachers of the law, beggars, scribes, mothers, carpenters, and children. These people, who once were separated into categories based on what they do and who they associated with, are now united in a common curiosity for this man who is doing things that have never been seen in Israel (v. 33).
Jesus, looking at this multitude of people, feels compassion for them. Why? Because he does not see teachers of the law, beggars, scribes, mothers, carpenters, and children. He looks over this multitude and views sheep that are distressed and dispirited (vs. 36).
Distressed is this word that conjures up imagery of being filleted, beaten up, and mutilated. Dispirited offers another word picture, of being thrown out, cast away. So Jesus, the Beautiful Shepherd, sees these sheep that have wandered away and been filleted up. Why? Because these sheep have sought to find satisfaction, the fulfillment of their desires, and value in the things of this world instead of in the Creator of this world (Romans 1:20-26).
So Jesus, turns to His disciples tells them pray to Lord for more workers to be sent out, and then Jesus sends the disciples out. You see the connection, the workers are His disciples. The workers are sent out, bathed in prayer that the Lord would work through them and in them, to make more workers, disciples of Jesus.
The point wasn’t to gather a crowd, they were already there. The point was to work the crowd, to show the crowd, who was mutilated and had wandered away from God, the love of God by making disciples of the crowd, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).
Are you making disciples or are you in the crowd? Appearances are deceiving…