[In Matthew Chapters 5-9 we read about Jesus’ ministry. Matthew summarises this ministry in 9:35. He travelled through all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God and healing many people. In Chapter 10 this ministry is extended to include his disciples as co-workers.
Verses 36 and 37 of Chapter 9 give us three reasons why it is necessary to extend this ministry from one person to many persons.
Jesus has compassion for the crowds.
The crowds are in need of care.
The labourers are too few.
I find the last statement quite astonishing in this context. Jesus is the Son of God. He goes about healing and teaching and it seems as if everyone is touched by his ministry. Yet he says: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (verse 37b NLT). One Bible commentator remarks, “The need was too great for Jesus to meet alone, so he called on some of his closest followers to help him meet it.”
The reality is that we live in a world where there are many who are burdened with spiritual, physical and material needs, for example, the needs resulting from the HIV pandemic. Therefore the call of verse 38 to pray that the “Lord of the harvest” (RSV) will send more workers into his harvest is as urgent today as it was 2,000 years ago when Jesus said this to his disciples.
To think about (or discuss): How can people who minister to the needs of others and who feel overwhelmed be helped?