35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healingevery disease and sickness.
Jesus has commanded us to go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. AndHe has given us authority so that we can do the things He did in His name.What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means we better get started now. Italso means we have been given a commission, and the person who receives a commissiondoesn’t get to pick and choose which parts they will obey. Jesus went to every town andvillage and preached, regardless of those people’s readiness or response. He didn’t staylonger with the nice people and avoid the nasty people—He fulfilled His commission.In the same way, we must realize that we cannot choose who our partners in thegospel will be, who we will reach out to, or even where we will go. We can’t predetermine what our ministry is going to be like. God
likely use us in some waythat we never expected. Are you ready to do something you haven’t anticipated or wanted? If God calls you, are you going to listen or ignore His call?My wife and I both recently got great jobs, just what we wanted, and things have been going pretty well for my family after relocating here last year. I’ve really beenhappy with my new job, but then I asked myself if God wanted me to leave this job to dosomething for Him, would I? Now, don’t get me wrong—I really like this job and don’tthink God is asking me to leave, but the question is still a good one to put to oneself. If God wanted you to do something other than what you had planned or where comfortablewith, would you obey? Are you ready to fulfill your commission, or is God’scommission subject to change according to your plans?
36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…
The Greek word translated here as “compassion” literally means “moved in theintestines,” and I think is similar to our phrase “gut-wrenching.” When we feelsomething very strongly, we feel it in our gut. Maybe when some young person is inlove, they often don’t feel like eating, or if you hear some horrible news, your stomachfeels as though it dropped to the floor. I believe this is the type of compassion that Jesushad for the crowds.In order to minister to people, we need the heart of God. More than anything else,I think this is the most important aspect of ministry. It doesn’t even matter whichministry, you still have to have some strong feeling of wanting to help others. Butcompassion is important especially in the pastoral ministry. We need to be like Paul theApostle, who said Christ’s love compelled him to do everything for the Corinthians’ benefit. (2 Cor 5:14) We need to be like Timothy, who Paul said was genuinelyconcerned for the Philippians’ welfare. (Phil 2:20-21)Brothers and sisters, do you know God agonizes over the unsaved? Can you love people, not with the love of men, but with the love of God? Not just people who seemworthy of salvation, but even those who are despised and rejected? Did you know thatJesus died for that person sitting in the row in front of you? Can you have compassionfor that person? One song really reminds me of what I ought to be doing. It’s called “If We Are the Body” by Casting Crowns and the chorus goes like this: