March 4, 2015
READ: Matthew 9:35-37
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (v.36).
In his book Simply Jesus, theologian N. T. Wright writes, “When God does big things, the little people get drawn in too.” One of my favourite examples of this is found in the book of Matthew.
Early in his gospel account, Matthew summarised the spectacular things that had been happening wherever Jesus went: “Jesus travelled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness” (Matthew 4:23).
Later, Matthew repeated this summary, with nearly identical wording (9:35). This time, however, he added the words, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (v.36).
Jesus was a busy man with a big agenda, spreading the good news about the kingdom. Through Him, God’s kingdom was arriving on earth as it was in heaven. That which was broken was starting to be fixed, as represented by all the physical healings. Big things were happening, and yet Jesus never lost sight of ‘little people’.
We live in a world that is preoccupied with many agendas, with many people too busy to notice the distress of the ‘little people’ or too desensitised to care. Yet, the New Testament shows us that Jesus didn’t look away. He saw inner suffering and the deepest needs of all people.
The fact that Jesus saw and had compassion gives me hope when I feel distressed and helpless. He sees what no one else may see. And as Matthew goes on to record, Jesus beckons and says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Little people included.
365-day plan: Joshua 10:1-15
Read Matthew 9:18-34 and note how Jesus impartially ministered to people of different social classes.
What burden or need can you bring to Jesus today? Who are the ‘little people’ in your life who could use some loving encouragement?