Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages teaching and announcing the good news of the kingdom of God. He was also healing all kinds of sicknesses. He compassionately observed how confused and helpless the crowds were that were following him. Are you confused and helpless or are you experiencing the compassion of the Good Shepherd, who is Jesus?
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Growing up we spent a lot of time at a farm just down the road from where we lived. When we turned off of the country road, we went up a lane that led toward the farmer’s house. The barn and the cow pasture were on the left. Then on the right was a fenced-in area with sheep in it.
I’m not sure why this family had sheep. I don’t remember the farmer ever doing anything with them. What I do know is that these sheep were very skittish. They did respond to the farmer. With everyone else, however, they were very fearful and would run from them.
When fear got the best of them they just ran in total confusion. There were some obstacles in the sheep pen, large brush piles, and some old junk cars. When the sheep would begin to run, they would run into or trip over these obstacles. As kids, we thought it was funny. But when I think of it now, it was a rather sad scene in all their confusion.
When Jesus observed the crowds in His day, He described a similar condition. They were just like sheep without a shepherd, confused and helpless. Our verse for today said it caused the Lord to have compassion for them.
Sheep Without Shepherd
Today knowledge has increased and technology has made life easier. Yet, a vast majority of people are still spiritually confused and helpless. They are like sheep without a shepherd. In the Bible, all of mankind are compared to sheep. Peter wrote in his epistle these words.
Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25.
Even at that, we tend towards being skittish and confused as we run in different directions. Even with the help of good spiritual leaders we still find ourselves running into the obstacles of life. We get ourselves backed into corners and then try to jump over things that are impossible to escape from.
The Compassion of the Good shepherd
But thank God we have a shepherd, a Good Shepherd. His name is Jesus. And the compassion of the Good Shepherd is just as much for us today as when Peter wrote it.
Our Good Shepherd will always protect us from dangers and will lead us down the path of righteousness. He will warn us of the obstacles of life that will try to stand in our way. When we follow Him we will never need to be confused and helpless ever again.
Lord, thank you for protecting and leading us. Also from clarifying all that would bring us confusion. And for providing the strength we need in our helplessness. We pray that you would steer us around the obstacles in our lives. Those that the enemy of our soul tries to hinder us with.
To read the entire chapter of Matthew 9, click here.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Christian Perspectives