“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.”
The context of this passage talks about the Lord Jesus Christ ministering from city to city, village to village, and in the course of that, He saw a multitude. His reaction to the multitude was very peculiar because it was based on the kind of consecration or commitment He had in the Almighty God. It was based also on what God had shown Him. It was based on revelation.
The passage has a big portion of compassion in it. If you read some of the other verses that followed, you will discover that the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged the disciples to join Him in praying, that the Almighty God might send labourers into the harvest In Matthew 9:35. 38, there are about five concepts that can measure the kind of minister you are or the kind of ministry you have We will look at these before we begin to deal with compassion which is one of the five concepts.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching 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. 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.”
The first thing that was called in the life of Jesus Christ, who is our example, is HIS CONSECRATION. That is, His commitment. We see His dedication to the Father in verses 35 and 38. First of all, He recognized God as the Lord of harvest and He was committed to the Lord of harvest. Secondly, He was also committed to the work.
Your commitment to God and to the will of God is the measure of the kind of the minister that you are or the kind of ministry that you have.
The second thing we find is REVELATION. Revelation is the ability to know the mind of God. That is, to know the will of God. We see this in verses 36 and 37. He saw the multitude not as most other people saw them. Also, He was able to see a harvest that other people were not seeing. He was able to know the will of God, the purpose of God for the time and the situation.
The measure of revelation you have is a clear indication of the kind of ministry you have. In fact, the man who does not hear from God has no ministry. You need to know the will of God and know the purpose and walk according to the purpose. It is then that you can say you have a ministry
and a ministry that is effective. The third concept is the one we are going to dwell upon, which is COMPASSION. We can see this in verse 36. Compassion is to feel with God for man. That is to feel the way God is feeling concerning man. It is a good measure of the kind of ministry you have.
The fourth concept is INTERCESSION. This is in verse 38. It says, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He may send labourers into His harvest.” This is to pray for those who will labour and to pray for those who are involved in the harvest. The ministry that has no intercession is a small ministry.
The last concept is the concept of MINISTRATION. This is in verses 35 and 38. Ministration is to work with God in the lives of men. Ministration is not to work for God. It is not to just labour in the midst of men. The measure with which you work together with God in the midst of men is an indication of the kind of ministry you have.
Compassion implies love. When you do not have compassion, you are not ministering like the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 36 we are told that when He saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion. Compassion was the first that moved Him.
What happens when somebody has other concepts without having compassion? I will just try to describe it with illustrations. I think when there is consecration without compassion, it means there is dedication without compassion. A person with such a character, to me, is like a Pharisee. Such a person has a pharisaic ministry. When there is revelation without compassion, to me, a person with this character is like a spiritualist who sees visions but there is no empathy. There is no identification with the problems of the people. Compassion has to be where consecration is. Compassion has to be expressed even when there is a revelation.
What about intercession without compassion? To me, it is just like the work of some of these witch doctors. It is a form of witchcraft. Such a person is interceding, with no compassion. There is no real and deep feeling, the kind of feeling that God has. Such intercession is mere formalities and because of this, the person could intercede in any direction, positive or negative.
What about menstruation without compassion? Where there is menstruation without compassion, the person to me looks like a businessman, project-oriented, and not concerned about the people involved. If you are ministering to people without compassion, to me you are just what the people will call an entrepreneur. All you are searching for is your goal or your project. Compassion makes a lot of difference.
Let us see what happens if compassion is added to each of the five concepts mentioned. If a person has consecration plus compassion, that person’s heart is in order. Such a person’s ministry is rooted properly. It will draw from the resources of Heaven because it is dedicated towards God and also has a feeling towards man. The person is hooked up to Heaven and is realistic on earth. There must be compassion and consecration for the heart to be right. If you see someone whose heart is right in ministry, he will not only be dedicated to God but he will also be dedicated to the good of man. He will have compassion. Consecration and compassion will mix together.
Anybody who has revelation and compassion, has outstanding potentials because he can hear from God and he can feel towards human beings so that the will of God that he has received could be accomplished in the lives of men.
When there is intercession with compassion, you cannot be stopped. In most cases, those that pray that God should send laborers to the vineyard, who intercede for the lost and begin to have compassion, are the ones that God sends out. Where there is intercession plus compassion, the person is like an explosive that you can not stop. Such a person will accomplish things.
He will move beyond that closet and accomplish the will of God. Where there is ministration plus compassion, you will have an ever-enlarging coast. If your menstruation has compassion, it will not have a limit. People will come just because they are sure that you will show them love The Lord Jesus Christ is our example and, in our text, we see the fantastic example He gave, preaching in the cities, preaching in the villages, and doing everything with real compassion.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was compassionate. He saw the multitude because God showed them to Him. He saw them based on revelation, and that was why He could have compassion on them. If He saw the multitude just like any other human being, He would not have had compassion.
There was revelation and for that reason there was compassion. In fact, ministry is as great as how much of God you see and your life is as great as the image of Jesus Christ that you see.
2 Corinthians 3:18:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Actual spiritual growth is based upon revelation. What we are saying here is that if you see the multitudes with revelation, there will be compassion. I pray that God will open our eyes that we may not see men as trees walking, but as people for which Jesus Christ died.
Jesus Christ did not see the multitude as a financial opportunity. A number of ministers will look at the multitude and imagine the kind of offering that would be collected. The Lord Jesus saw the multitude as a sacrificial challenge. It was an opportunity for Him to give to them to multiply fish and bread and give to them.
When He saw the multitude, as far as He was concerned, it was not an image projecting platform but rather it was a platform on which to bring salvation to more people. As He saw the multitude, He saw a burden for their own image to be salvaged. It was not a place to project His image but a place to save the images of these people because they were created in the image of God and God would want to restore them totally to His image.
As the Lord saw the multitude, it was not a chance to manipulate them but it was a call to serve. It was not an opportunity to play on the mind of people but it was an opportunity to deliver and to renew the minds of the people.
The harvest He saw, because of compassion, was not a harvest of materials but it was a harvest that was spiritual. He did not see a harvest of the gifts that will come to Him. He did not see a harvest of how much will draw to Him. The harvest He saw was the spiritual harvest that had to do with the Kingdom of God.
How do you measure your ministry even with the concept of compassion? Do you have compassion on people? I was reading one book and the author said that there are many people who love to preach but they do not love the people they are preaching to. This is mechanical ministration. Nobody has a right to preach to a group of people that he does not love. You have no right because it is not the gospel that you bring to them. Even when you bring the truth to them, it will be like a letter that kills. The truth must be spoken in love. How could a man preach to a group of people that he does not love? May God fill our hearts with compassion, in Jesus’ Name.
When Jesus saw the multitude, it induced in Him a call to pray and a call for more labourers. Jesus has not changed. He is still the same and because of this, He will answer our prayers in Jesus’ Name. The Lord will hear us as we call on Him because He is still compassionate. He still sits at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us. The way He felt about the multitude is the way He still feels about us.
The Lord Jesus is concerned about whatever form of ignorance you have been involved in. He says His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Jesus is willing to give you the revelation. He knows that when people dwell in darkness, they fall into the pit. For this reason, He wants to give you the light as you call on Him to show you the light. He is going to show it because His compassion does not fail.
He is still translating people from the kingdom of darkness into His dear Kingdom with compassion. The Bible says while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us because of His compassion.
ALSO, READ HE CAN SANCTIFY YOU WHOLLY