Today’s Reading: Matthew 9:27-38
27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered 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 done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
32 As they were going away, behold, a mute demoniac was brought to him. 33And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Compassion: Those needing spiritual and physical healing lie close to Jesus’ heart (14:14; 15:32; 20:34). like sheep without a shepherd: A familiar OT simile.
— Sheep often represent the people of Israel (1 Kings 22:17; Jud 11:19; Jer 23:1-3; Zech 10:2). Shepherd imagery is used for Israel’s spiritual leaders.
(1) Joshua was Moses’ successor and the “shepherd” of Israel (Num 27:17).
(2) David was elected to “shepherd” Israel as its king (2 Sam 5:2-3).
(3) In Ezek 34, God himself promised to set “one shepherd” (Ezek 34:23) over his people to feed and protect them as a new Davidic king (Ezek 34:23-24; cf. Jer 23:1-6).
Jesus draws on these to illustrate his own role as the Shepherd and King of the restored Israel, the Church (25:31-34; Jn 10:16; 1 Pet 2:25).