The Good Shepherd
Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35'36 WEB.
When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, for they were as lost sheep. The words "harassed and scattered" here literally mean "torn and thrown down." Jesus saw the people as unprotected sheep wandering about lost, and they were easy prey for predators.
Jesus would then stop, teach them the word of God, and heal them. He cared about the ordinary people, and He was not a respecter of persons. Several times in scripture, Jesus taught that He was The Good Shepherd and that He came to seek and save the lost sheep (John 10:11, Luke 15:6, Luke 19:10).
Cold-hearted religious people can make you feel unwelcome, even in what they call "The house of God." They even threw Jesus out of their temple after He preached the truth to them: "So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple" (John 8:59).
They did not like it when Jesus had lunch with sinners either. Still, He did it anyway: "The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" (Mark 2:16). The cold-hearted religious people stood outside and watched Jesus dine with the sinners, instead of dining with them.
The religious elite then called Jesus, "A drunkard and a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Mark 2:16). I thank God that Jesus is still a friend to sinners like me.
Don't ever let cold, negative people influence your view of Jesus, for He is not like them. You are welcome in His flock. Jesus came to seek and save the lost like us, and He is always glad to see us. We need to ask ourselves, "Which group are we in today? The cold and exclusive, or the warm and welcoming." The Bible is clear on which side Jesus was on.
Jesus is still the good Shepherd. If you are wandering through life today and feel lost, take a moment and pray. No matter what you have done in the past, Jesus will welcome you into His flock with open arms. He is a friend that is closer than a brother. Jesus loves you, but sometimes His followers struggle to represent that love correctly. Let us do better. Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to redeem me. I accept Your wonderful gift of eternal life and pray that You lead me from this day forward. Please speak to me in a way that I understand and let me see the world through Your eyes, in the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!
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