If you missed the blogs from earlier this week, please go back and read them. They all tie together.
III. What Jesus Felt v36
According to verse 36, He felt compassion: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them.” When Jesus saw the multitudes he was not moved with wonder, or with admiration, or interest. He wasn’t on a mission vacation to see the sites and get his passport stamped. He was moved with compassion. The word “compassion” here means "feeling with,” “feeling for,” or “sympathy.” It is a taking upon oneself the pain, poverty, and anguish of those who are suffering. The word literally points us to the gut. We might say today, “my heart aches for the crowds,” but in Jesus’ day they would saw my intestines churn or my stomach is upset for the crowds. This is really a more accurate description of what takes place is it not? What happens when you get some tragic news about a loved one? Your stomach is affected. As most of us know from personal experience, many intense emotions can directly, and often immediately, affect the stomach. So this makes perfect sense.
Jesus, felt such compassion for the crowds that His stomach hurt for them. We must step out of the temporal and into the spiritual and see the world with Jesus’ eyes. Is it a time for us to be flattering our heart and saying all is well, when Jesus is torn up inside? If he is uneasy, even to the point of agony, is it time for us to be resting on a soft church pew and to be saying all is well?
IV. What Jesus Determined
Finally we see what Jesus determined as a result of what He preached, saw, and felt. He determined three things. First, he determined that the harvest is plentiful. We read in verse 37, “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful…” In John 4:35 after speaking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus said to his shocked followers, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Second, Jesus determined that the laborers are few. In the second part of verse 37 we read, “but the workers are few.” It has been said that the evangelization of the world waits not on the readiness of God but on the obedience of Christians. K.P. Yohannan wrote, “Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.” The laborers are few! Thirdly, Jesus determined that there is an answer!
What is the answer? In verse 38, Jesus said, “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” The answer is prayer! Pray. Pray. Pray. According to A.B. Simpson, “prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” The answer is not just prayer, but earnest prayer. The mission is serious. The mission field is a battle field. There must be earnest prayer! In the words of John Piper, “Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against he powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world.” The answer to the plight of the world is earnest prayer, but earnest prayer for what? The harvest? No. The answer to the plight of the world is earnest prayer for God to send out laborers; literally to squeeze out, fling out, or send out. And let us understand that praying earnestly for laborers to be squeezed out by God, with a P.S. “not me” doesn’t work. When we earnestly pray to the Lord to send someone to witness to them, we place ourselves at his disposal to become one of His workers in that ministry. This is evident from Luke’s account of Jesus’ teaching on this subject. We read in Luke 10:2-3, “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Notice. Pray earnestly for more laborers. Now, go your way! I am sending YOU out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Praying earnestly for laborers generally includes and eventual willingness to be sent out. This is Jesus’ strategy for reaching the world with the gospel of the kingdom.
Now, we conclude with our original question. When do we go? We go when we feel what Jesus feels and begin to pray earnestly…Lord, send laborers, and P.S., “Here am I.” Are you wiling to add that to your prayer for the nations this morning? If so, then we are getting real close to experiencing the answer to when!