9:35. 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.
This was his answer to the blasphemous slanders of the Pharisees. A
glorious reply it was. Let us answer calumny by greater zeal in doing
good. Small places were not despised by our Lord: he went about the
villages as well as the cities. Village piety is of the utmost
importance, and has a close relation to city life. Jesus turned old
institutions to good account: the “synagogues” became his seminaries.
Three-fold was his ministry: expounding the old, proclaiming the new,
healing the diseased. Observe the repetition of the word “every” as
showing the breadth of his healing power. All this stood in relation to
his royalty; for it was “the gospel of the kingdom” which he
proclaimed. Our Lord was “ the Great Itinerant”: Jesus went about
preaching, and healing. His was on a Medical Mission as well as an
evangelistic tour. Happy people who have Jesus among them! Oh, that we
might now see more of his working among our own people!
Matthew 9:36. 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.
A great crowd is a demand upon compassion, for it suggests so much sin
and need. In this case, the great want was instruction: “they fainted”
for want of comfort; they “were scattered abroad” for lack of guidance.
They were eager to learn, but they had no fit teachers. “Sheep having
no shepherd” are in an ill plight. Unfed, unfolded, unguarded, what
will become of them? Our Lord was stirred with a feeling which agitated
his inmost soul. “He was moved with compassion.” What he saw affected
not his eye only, but his heart. He was overcome by sympathy. His whole
frame was stirred with an emotion which put every faculty into forceful
movement. He is even now affected towards our people in the same
manner. He is moved with compassion if we are not.
Matthew 9:37-38. 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.
His heavy heart sought solace among “his disciples”, and he spake to
them. He mourned the scantiness of workers. Pretenders were many, but
real “labourers” in the harvest were few. The sheaves were spoiling.
The crowds were ready to be taught, even as ripe wheat is ready for the
sickle; but there were few to instruct them, and where could more
teaching men be found? God only can thrust out, or “send forth
labourers.” Man-made ministers are useless. Still are the fields
encumbered with gentlemen who cannot use the sickle. Still the real
ingatherers are few and far between. Where are the instructive,
soul-winning ministries? Where are those who travail in birth for their
hearers’ salvation? Let us plead with the Lord of the harvest to care
for his own harvest, and send out his own men. May many a true heart be
moved by the question, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” to
answer, “Here am I! Send me.”
10:1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave
them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all
manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
See the way of making apostles. They were first disciples, and
afterwards teachers of others: they were specially his, and then they
were given to be a blessing to men. They were “called unto him”; and
thus their higher call came to them. In the presence of their Lord they
received their equipment:
“He gave them power.” Is that so with us in our own special office? Let
us come to him, that we may be clothed with his authority and girded
with his strength. Their power was miraculous; but it was an imitation
of their Lord’s, and the words applied to it are very much the same as
we have seen in use about his miracles of healing. The twelve were made
to represent their Lord. We, too, may be enabled to do what Jesus did
among men. Oh, for such an endowment!
This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:3-8; Matthew , 18-23.