And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
As Jesus goes about doing good, someone always has something to say. The scribes accuse Him of blasphemy when he forgives the palsied man’s sins. They question why Jesus would eat with publicans and sinners, why He would be among them, spending time and sharing a meal with these kinds of people. The crowd laughs Jesus to scorn when He says the girl is not really dead before He raises her to life again. And the Pharisees accuse Jesus of casting out devils through devilish power.
There will always be a critic. There will always be the doubter and the scoffer and the scorner. In a lot of cases, the amazing things Jesus does are accompanied by negative responses from people who should have been rejoicing in the work of God. But Jesus still forgives no matter who doubts His power to do so. Jesus still comes to sinners to save them. He still gives new life where others only see death. And He defeats the power of Satan once and for all.
Jesus kept moving forward in what He was supposed to do, what He came to do. And though His ultimate purpose was to die on the cross to secure our salvation, in many ways, these fainting and scattered multitudes were why He came. He looks upon us and sees our neediness and does not cast us away with scorn for being so pathetic and weak. Instead He has compassion. He comes toward us and invites us to come toward Him. We need a shepherd, and He wants to be our Shepherd.
No matter the praise of some and the condemnation by others, Jesus stayed the course. That didn’t change who He was or what He was going to do. He impacted lives in many different ways during His ministry. But what do we see when we look upon the multitudes of people, struggling, lost, and needing Jesus? Do we look upon them with compassion? Do we care about them enough to be faithful despite the critics and the scoffers trying to discourage us? We know what Jesus can do, and we know what He wants us to do, so may we simply be willing to continue on, working diligently for our Master.