“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Matthew 9:35-38.

Jesus has been traveling all throughout Galilee, teaching and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Not only that, He’s been healing diseases and casting out demons. Epileptics, paralytics have been healed and the blind received sight. A young girl has been raised from the dead. As the crowds watch this, they were amazed: “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.” (Matthew 9:33). Can you imagine what it would have been like to see this?

The Matthew 9 passage bridges the gap between Jesus’ ministry and ours so that we have the same kind of ministry that He had. In this passage we are asked to believe something and then given something to do.

First, we’re given something to believe. Jesus says in verse 37, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” He is telling us that the harvest is plentiful all around us. Do you believe that? There are many yet to be reached with the gospel of the kingdom, and there’s an urgency. They’re ready to hear, but are we ready to tell them. This is what He tells us to believe. Do you believe it?

He’s given us something to believe – that people are ready. Now He gives us something to do about it. Wouldn’t you expect that Jesus would say, “So get out there and tell them!” But that’s not what He said. Surprisingly, He said, “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Why would Jesus tell us to pray instead of doing something? He knows that before we have the ministry that He has, we must have the same prayerful reliance on the Father that He does. Before we have the compassion of Jesus, we must have the connection with the Father that Jesus has. It’s one thing for us to go and do. It’s another thing to pray to God that He would raise up people – either through conversion or growth – who are ready to go; to pray that God would give them a spirit for the work, call them to it, and give them wisdom and success.  

And when we start to believe that the harvest is plentiful and pray that He would send out workers, you never know if we may become the answers to our own prayers – that we would be the workers commissioned by the Lord of the harvest himself. So two questions:  Will you believe Jesus when he says that the harvest is plentiful? And will you pray, beginning today, that God would raise up people – maybe even you – to do His work?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you believe the harvest is plentiful? Why or why not? 
  2. How can we pray this week that there will be harvesters for the harvest?