Matthew 9:27-38 (NKJV)
27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. 32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
The blind men in today’s reading trusted in Jesus to heal their eyes, but not to command their mouths, as they flagrantly disobeyed His order to keep their mouths shut about this particular healing. Another man’s mouth was opened by Jesus, and the crowds were amazed at how easily He was able to command the demon. But the Pharisees were quick to attribute His power to the devil instead of God. Jesus tirelessly taught and preached and healed in all the cities and villages of Israel, but it was never enough; the people of Israel remained weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd, and His heart went out to them. His teaching was clear, and yet many did not obey. His preaching was pure, and yet many charged Him with false doctrine. His shepherding was perfect, and yet the sheep were prone to wandering.
If the Son of God could suffer so many setbacks in His earthly ministry, why do we imagine that we should see fewer? Sin has so corrupted our race that we are barely kept within the fold by even the best ministry. And yet the ministry of the Word, instituted and regulated by Christ, remains the only thing that stands between us and eternal death. It is still Christ’s tool on earth for gathering His sheep into His holy Church and keeping them gathered there. The harvest may not be as plentiful in any one place as it was at the time of Jesus, but there are now more places to live and more people scattered throughout the world. The need for laborers and for prayers for laborers remains just as great!
Let us pray: Lord of the harvest, send laborers into Your harvest field, and sustain them in the face of both opposition and apathy. Amen.