140706 Matthew 9:35-38

Last Updated on Monday, 07 July 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Matthew 9:35 – 38
Theme: Do You Hear Jesus Crying?

During my sermon a couple of weeks ago, we talked about the importance of telling the next generation "the praise worthy deeds of the Lord;" that you and I need to make sure that we continue to share with the generations to come the message of God's Word. If you had the chance to read the "Focus of Worship" in our bulletin this morning, you read how we as a church body are running into a serious problem. The problem is that there are not enough people today studying to become pastors, teachers or staff ministers in our Wisconsin Synod. If pulpits stand empty, if classrooms have no teachers, it will become more and more difficult for us to tell the next generation. As our Savior says in the Gospel lesson for today, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." So my question for you is do you hear him? Do you hear Jesus crying?

When someone close to us dies, we cry. A child hurts himself or herself and cries out in pain. This is one way we use the word "cry". It is a way to let other people know that we are sad. Do you hear Jesus crying? We read in God's Word before us, "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." As Jesus spent time with people he saw their great spiritual need and this made him sad. We are told that "he had compassion on them". A little more accurate translation of the original Greek tells us that Jesus was so saddened by the spiritual condition of the crowds that he ached for them deep down inside. From their religious leaders, the people had been led to look to themselves. As one Bible commentator writes, "Rules of human beings had replaced sorrow over sin and the need for rescue from a gracious and loving God." The "earthly" spiritual shepherds of the people had failed them. They were in need of a true spiritual shepherd who would rescue them from the guilt of their sins. So in great love and mercy for them and for all people, the Savior tells us in John chapter 10, "I am the Good Shepherd...I lay down my life for the sheep...I know them and they follow me. I give eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."

Do you hear Jesus crying? Sin makes Jesus sad. When he looks at your natural, sinful condition and mine, he cries. Each time you and I commit a sin, the Savior is sad. Sin makes Jesus sad because he knows that sin makes you and me guilty. Jesus knows that God's Word tells us that "the soul who sins is the one who will die." Each time you and I give in to the thinking that says, "I can do something to make things right between myself and my God!", Jesus is sad. Jesus knows there is absolutely no way that you and I can ever come close to paying the price for our sins on our own. So, moved by his great love for you and me, Jesus Christ came to this earth as our Good Shepherd. The Shepherd willingly laid down his life for the sheep; for you and me as the payment price for all our sins. Because of Jesus your Savior and mine, sadness over sin is replaced with the joy of forgiveness. Because of Jesus, sadness at the thought of a sinner going to hell is replaced with the joy of saints, whose sins have been washed away, taking their place at the side of their Savior in heaven. As we sing in one of the hymns in our hymnal:

"See, my soul, your Savior chooses poverty and weakness, too;
in such love he comes to you. Neither crib nor cross refuses,
all he suffers for your good to redeem you by his blood.
Joy, oh, joy beyond all gladness, Christ has done away with sadness!
Hence all sorrow and repining, for the Sun of grace is shining!"

A child is outside in the neighborhood playing with his or her friends, so a parent cries out the name of the child to call them home for supper. At a sporting event, such as a baseball game, many times there is an announcer who cries out them name of the person who is coming up to bat. This is another way that we use that same word, "cry". Do you hear Jesus crying? Seeing the great spiritual need of people, the Lord of the Church cries out for workers.

We read from God's Word that Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." The Lord of the Church knows that he will not be on this earth much longer. So he cries out to his disciples to be his messengers. And what would be their motivation? A few verses later Jesus told them, "Freely you have received, freely give." By the grace of God the disciples enjoyed the free gift of forgiveness through their Savior, Jesus. Now they are to go and share that message of full and free forgiveness with others.

Do you hear Jesus crying? He is crying out to you and to me. The Lord wants to use and you and me as his workers. By the working of God the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, you and I know the Good News of free forgiveness of all sins through Jesus our Savior. Now the Lord asks you and me to share that Good News with others. But are you and I ALWAYS willing to share that message with others? Do we make use of EVERY opportunity we have to tell people about Jesus, or do we give in to the temptation not to say anything or think that it is someone else's job? Quite frankly, what you and I deserve for refusing to answer this call from the Lord of the Church is for him to take his Word away from us. What would be the end result for you and me? It would mean eternal damnation in the flames and torment of hell. But there is Good News in God's Word. "Freely you have received, freely give." The forgiveness of all of your sins and mine is a free gift, won for us by Jesus our Savior. It has been freely given to us by God the Holy Spirit. That Good News not only gives you and me peace and comfort, and assures us of our place in heaven, but it also motivates and empowers you and me to go out and tell others about the free forgiveness that Jesus Christ won for all people.

These verses before us from Matthew chapter nine are often times used to encourage men and women to consider full-time work in the Lord's Church. So I ask our young people who are here with us today, do you hear Jesus crying? In the very near future, more and more of our current Called Workers will retire from the full-time ministry. This means that more and more pulpits throughout our Wisconsin Synod will need to be filled; more and more classrooms will need a teacher. Do you hear Jesus crying? Perhaps at this point you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I want to encourage you to consider serving your Lord and your church in the full-time Gospel ministry. Parents and Grandparents who are here today, do you hear Jesus crying? Have you encouraged a young person that you know to think about serving in the full-time ministry of the church? We are at a very important time in the history of our Synod, especially when we look at the need for pastors in our Church body. Just this past May, one of the smallest classes in decades graduated from our Seminary in Mequon. These small class sizes continue through our Seminary and Martin Luther College in New Ulm. Think about this for a moment: a young man who is entering his Freshman year in high school this fall, will not graduate from our Seminary until the year 2026! Not only are you and I able to seek out young people who have the gifts for ministry, but we also are able to take the matter to the Lord of the Church in our prayers. Do you hear Jesus crying? "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

We step back and take a look at the world around us, and we see that the harvest is indeed plentiful. There are many, many folks here in Oconomowoc, in our country and around the world, who need to hear the true message of God's Word. We step back and take a look at the fact that what Jesus says to us today in his Word is true: the workers are few. You and I can clearly see the shortage of Called Workers facing our Wisconsin Synod now and in the years to come. So in our prayers, together you and I ask the Lord of the harvest to send our workers into his harvest field. My dear friends in Christ, listen...listen closely. Do you hear Jesus crying? Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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