Wherever Jesus goes, people follow–crowds of people, so many people! They want so much to be near him. They want to listen to what he says. In the Gospel for this Sunday, we hear how Jesus feels about these crowds of people who come to him.
“When he saw the crowds, Jesus had compassion for them…”
Jesus has compassion for them… What does that mean?
Compassion means Jesus knows how the crowds feel and he understands that feeling.
What do the crowds feel?
“Jesus had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Sheep without a shepherd… What happens to sheep if they do not have a shepherd?
How can they know where to find food?
How can they know where to find water?
Who keeps them safe?
Who loves them?
Sheep without a shepherd… Those sheep are lost.
Jesus knows that sheep need a shepherd to lead them. He knows because Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls his sheep by name and leads them out.
Jesus understands how sheep feel when they are lost. He understands because he is the Good Shepherd who finds his sheep.
Jesus has compassion for the crowds because they are just like sheep and Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lays down his life for his sheep.
What does Jesus do when he feels compassion for the crowds who are like sheep without a shepherd?
“Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples…”
Jesus gives them shepherds.
He chooses his twelve disciples and he sends them out to shepherd the people. He tells them,
“Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near.’
The Good Shepherd sends out more shepherds to the people.
No longer will they be lost.
The Kingdom of God has come near.