Matthew 15, 29-39 Jesus, Compassionate Shepherd

by | Nov 14, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. The Setting

A. Geographically

1. Jesus has come from the region of Tyre & Sidon: present day Lebanon

a. A region of idol worship and a land of Gentiles
b. The disciples were probably prejudiced against these people

2. Jesus moves south and east, into the area known as Decapolis

a. The Decapolis included 10 cities that were authorized by the Romans to mint their own coins, run their own courts, & have their own armies
b. It was predominantly Gentile Territory

B. Jesus & The Disciples

1. They have been trying to have a time of rest
2. Mark 7:24b And He entered a house & wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden
3. The Syro-Phoenician woman interrupted that effort of resting, but Jesus was willing to minister to her
4. They leave that region, moving along the Sea of Galilee
5. Even in Gentile regions, Jesus fame is growing, and people’s requests and expectations are increasing
6. Great multitudes come to Jesus, bringing many who need healing

II. Jesus, The Compassionate Shepherd

A. His Actions

1. He healed them
2. He fed them

B. The “Cost” Of Ministry

1. Jesus was not moved by “duty”. His actions were not done out of obligation
2. He was not reluctant or unwilling to minister to these “great multitudes”

a. There were 4,000 men, besides women and children
b. He spent three days ministering to these people. Such were their needs

3. Much emotional energy is spent praying w/people/listening to them/talking
a. Learning their name, hearing their story
b. Reaching out, touching them, giving them dignity and attention
c. There is much energy spent seeing the tragic problems that people have endured for years, maybe their entire lives
d. Jesus isn’t waving his arms, spraying them w/holy water, or just shouting out words of healing. It is one on one. (The 10 lepers were the exception)
e. Imagine if some are impatient; the need to calm them down, etc.
f. What about those who were unappreciative and demanding? Imagine the emotional toll dealing with them in a loving way.
g. The disciples weren’t perfect. Were they helpful, reluctant, tired, or complaining? Did Jesus have to correct them, encourage them?
h. This huge scope of ministry must have been draining and exhausting

C. Jesus’ Motivation V. 32

1. Compassion- to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion, to be moved with sympathy (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)
2. The compassion of Jesus

a. Matthew 9:35-38 Jesus was moved to tell His disciples to pray for more laborers who would have compassion
b. Matthew 14:12-14 Immediately after learning of His cousin, John the Baptist being beheaded. Jesus sought to get away alone, but compassion flowed forth from Him

i. His disciples often just wanted to send the people away
ii. Jesus sought to teach these men about the compassion of God
iii. Imagine the temptation to be frustrated with the disciples

3. Matthew 20:17-34 Jesus has just announced that He will be killed. His disciples begin to position themselves for prominence in the coming Kingdom of God. He has to correct them. Jesus explains that His kingdom is not one of self-promotion, but of self-sacrifice and servanthood. He then stops to heal to blind men, as He is marching towards His death

3. Jesus’ teaching On Compassion- Luke 15:11-24 Jesus teaches us that compassion has nothing to do with our rights being violated. Compassion is about loving others who have wronged us.
It is about restoring them…

a. Not just to a “toleration” status
b. But to everything that God has for them

III. God’s Work In Us

A. Recognize & Admire The Compassion Of Jesus

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Beheld- to behold, look upon, view attentively, contemplate, to learn by looking.

B. Realize That God Wants To Infuse Compassion Into Us

Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…

C. Surrender To That Work Of God In You

Ephesians 4:20-24 20But you have not so learned Christ, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.