And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
– Matthew 9:35-36 (KJV)
In my meditation on Matthew 9, I’ve noticed how Jesus sees people differently than the way I see people. He sees what’s going on on the inside while I look on the outside. If I were one of Jesus’ disciples following him around as he ministered to people’s needs…
- In verse 2, I would have seen a paralyzed man, while Jesus saw the faith of those who lowered him into the room. I would have seen a man in need of physical healing. Jesus saw a man desiring to have his sins forgiven. He saw the unspoken repentance of the paralytic.
- In verses 3 and 4, I would not have noticed anything about the scribes, but Jesus ‘saw’ their evil thoughts.
- In verse 9, I would have seen a political traitor to my people, but Jesus saw a new disciple.
- In verses 10 through 13, I would have seen what the Pharisees saw: Jesus eating with a bunch of sinners. Jesus saw them as spiritually sick, in need of healing, and was mercifully leading them to repentance.
- In verses 20 to 22, I would have seen an unclean woman brush up against my master. Jesus saw her secret sickness, and her faith to be made well (i.e. the touch of faith, not the casual touch of everyone else)
- In verses 23 through 25, I’d have seen a dead girl. Jesus saw her as asleep.
- In verse 36, I would have seen the crowds harrassing my master, and hoping they would go away so I could spend some ‘quality time’ with Him. Jesus saw them as harrassed and scattered sheep and was moved with compassion towards them.
I’ve always been a bit obtuse when it comes to the obvious, not to mention the less obvious things such as what Jesus saw. What was going on in people’s hearts in the gospels is revealed there in the printed word, but I don’t have that advantage for people I encounter in my daily life. So, I’ve been asking Jesus to help me to see people as He sees them, and to give me a heart of compassion, so that I can serve the way He would have me to. That is what He wanted of His disciples when He gave them the vision of what He saw…
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
– Matthew 9:37-38 (KJV)
Do I see those around me as burdened or just a burden? Do I see them as ‘white unto harvest’? Do I have a heart of compassion as Jesus wants me to?