36 When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” — Matthew 9:36-38
The King And The Kingdom – Thirst Quenchers
by Tommy Sanders
West Franklin Campus
Matthew shares with us Jesus’ activities prior to the focus verses we have today. Jesus was traveling around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When Jesus saw the condition of the people who were crowding around Him, He saw beyond their obvious needs for healing to the thirst of their souls. They were distressed, dejected and without anyone to care for them. Why did that matter to Jesus? Was not His objective to forgive their sins so they could go to heaven when they died?
As we read on in chapter 10, we see Jesus sending the twelve out into the harvest, giving them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. In verse 7 He tells them to preach the message, “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.” So the question becomes this: how does the Kingdom of Heaven being near address the needs of the people for whom He had compassion? Could it be that the Kingdom is the answer for stress and well-being? What about belonging, acceptance and relationship?
Jesus knew the Kingdom not only included the forgiveness of sins, but it also brought restoration and purpose in this life.
People today are no different from the people Jesus saw in Matthew 9. They are still stressed, discouraged, dejected and lonely without someone who cares for their souls. The sad reality is that some of those people are church members who may believe “Jesus is the answer,” but they have not had their thirst quenched by the reality of living fully in the Kingdom now.
Jesus and His disciples preached the good news of the availability of life in the Kingdom, which comes when we are in right relationship with Him. No longer do sin and guilt rule; instead, there is cleansing from sin and the freedom to live abundantly for others. Those who believe are adopted into a great family of brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers where they are accepted and belong.
Is this the gospel you know and experience? We as the church must live its reality and let Jesus, the living water, overflow out of us to quench the thirst of the lost and searching around us!
- Are you living the reality of your privilege as a dearly loved child of God, a citizen of the Kingdom, with Jesus the living water flowing into you and overflowing out in all areas of your life? That overflow is a source of hope for the lost and searching.
- Can you articulate this “good news” in everyday language to those around you who are distressed, dejected and like sheep without a shepherd?
Try to find one of those old school ice trays and a pitcher of water. As an example of what it looks like to be overflowing with the gospel, start pouring the water into one square of the tray. Watch how as it fills up. As it fills up, it will start filling another square. Eventually the whole tray will be filled. This is a great example of how we are filled with Jesus, by spending time with Him, and how it will overflow to the people around us and show them the love of Jesus. Discuss as a family how you can all be plugged into Jesus and how you can reach the people around you.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.