Realizing that His work in His hometown of Nazareth is very limited due to the unbelief of the people there, Jesus departs that town and goes into other cities and villages, “teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). (See also Mark 6:5-6.)
To be clear, Jesus is performing three activities in each location:
- Teaching what the Word of God says (especially prophecies about Christ)
- Preaching the gospel (the need for repentance and baptism)
- Healing the sick
As He is doing these things day after day, Jesus notes that there are many, many people in need of hearing the gospel. Also, there are many sick people who can be used to demonstrate the power of God by being miraculously healed of their diseases.
Jesus is certainly capable of providing these services to the people but He is limited by one factor. Even as the Son of God, He is still just one person and there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week, so there is just not enough time to get around to everybody. Jesus likens these multitudes of people to crops of fruit that are ripe and ready to be picked, telling His disciples:
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
By making this statement, Jesus is acknowledging that there is a need for additional laborers in order to reach as many people as possible with the gospel. The more laborers, the more souls that can be harvested. So, for the first time, Jesus delegates to other people the tasks that only He Himself has been performing so far.
The honor of representing Jesus first goes to His twelve Apostles. These twelve have already learned enough about the gospel to be able to teach it and preach it to others. The only thing they are not equipped to do is heal the sick like Jesus can, so Jesus “called unto him his twelve disciples [and] gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1).
Now fully equipped, the Apostles are ready to go out and represent Jesus. And, just like that, Jesus has divided Himself into six additional pieces — the twelve Apostles will go out in pairs so six additional locations can be covered simultaneously every day. With more laborers, more souls can be harvested.
Today, the honor of representing Jesus goes to each of us who have given our lives to the Lord. Hopefully, we have learned enough about the gospel to be able to share it with others. Even if we’re not that well versed in the scriptures, our personal testimony can be used to share the gospel with others. And, although we can’t automatically pronounce healings upon the sick, we can certainly pray for the sick (and the ministry can anoint them with oil) so we are empowered to partner with the Lord to bring about healings, according to His will.
So, we are fully equipped to represent Jesus. The only question that remains is whether we are willing to be a laborer for Christ.
- Are we willing to share our personal testimony with the people we know?
- Are we willing to invite people to church?
- Are we willing to interact with the community around the church to share the gospel with them?
- Are we willing to travel to other locations to spread the gospel? (The laborers are definitely few for traveling internationally as well as to the domestic Native American works).
As noted in the scripture above, the harvest truly is plenteous (there are many opportunities to share the gospel) but the laborers are few (there are not many people willing to participate). If you’re not already a laborer for Christ, will you step up and be one? It’s an honor to represent Jesus, and the more laborers that we have, the more souls can be harvested for Him.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.