When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9: 36


What kind of man is this that could look upon the faces of people who would laugh at Him and who would refuse to grant him any respect and have His heart break over how lost they were? What sort of person can know that He will be totally abandoned and still seek to show the foresakers the way to eternal belonging? These are attitudes that I would find impossible to live out, and this is an approach to life that most people would consider to be completely crazy.


That is why this kind of love had to come to live with people, for we would never accept its possibility much less its reality if we had not seen it in the flesh. So, this is how Matthew described Jesus’ attitude toward the people that they were meeting as they traveled and shared God’s message of restorative love with ever growing and always needy crowds. Sheep can be a remarkably helpless lot; easy meals for predators, worried into collapse and death by simple things, and unable to move on their own the few steps that are required to find food and fresh water. Sheep will crush themselves to death by pressing against a rock wall if not turned in a different direction. Yet, when properly cared for, provided with good food and plentiful water, and protected from danger, they are among the most productive and valuable of all animals.


Jesus looks at each of us and sees the pain, the fear, and the hurt that grips our hearts. He looks at us and knows our needs and our insecurities. Jesus not only understands the struggles and the dangers of our lives, He is the good shepherd who enters into that life. He is the one who will guide, provide for, and protect us. Jesus will never leave anyone in a state of vulnerability, directionless and alone. He is the only reliable shepherd for our souls, and He is the true answer to all that we need in order to be the most productive creatures in all of Creation.