Get involved with people very much and you find all kinds of problems. Failing health, marital infidelity, rebellious children, embezzling employees, fractured friendships – the list seems endless. The influence of sin is all around us.
People respond differently to this reality. Some deny. Some avoid. My response is often to get discouraged and overwhelmed. It seems the more I listen, the more I just see the greatness of sin. Left alone, this perspective moves me to despair, tempting me to withdraw.
Jesus had a different response. Matthew records one example of this response in chapter 9 starting in verse 35. Jesus’ response, first of all, was to stay very engaged with people. He was traveling from town to town, and Matthew tells us that, in his travels, he was teaching, preaching and healing.
Matthew doesn’t leave us there. He tells us the origin of Jesus’ engagement. In verse 36, we learn “when he (Jesus) saw the crowds”, he saw them as “harassed and helpless”. Jesus’ engagement began with a perspective on the reality of the power of sin. It didn’t stop there. He also saw the reason for this reality. They were “like sheep without a shepherd”. They were on their own and, on their own, they were “helpless” to deal with that which was harassing them.
Jesus reaction to the fullness of this reality was compassion. He was moved by their plight and gave them what they needed – himself, the Good Shepherd.
I gain something significant from Jesus’ reaction. What people need in dealing with the impact of sin – you, me, people in sports ministry, or people outside the kingdom – is the engagement of this Shepherd. The greater the impact of sin, the greater the need for a Great Shepherd. The incredible truth is that Our Shepherd is far greater than the greatest sin, its power and impact.
This perspective gives me encouragement as I think about the impact of sin. It also gives me hope as I seek to deal with the impact of sin around me. I hope it will uplift you also.
Written by Bob Schindler