I'm profoundly grateful for Lui and Ane Ponifasio from LifeChurch Manurewa who helped me see something in Scripture that I had not seen previously (to my shame).
Come with me to Matthew 9:18-38.
Who does Jesus compassionately interact with in these verses?
Shattered parents and their dead girl; a bleeding, isolated woman; blind men; and a man who had been demonically possessed.
These are people crippled by trauma, pain, isolation, poverty, and demonic possession. Do you notice that:
Jesus frees the parents from their crippling trauma with the crowd outside (v24).
Jesus frees the man crippled by a demon and the crowds are amazed (v33).
Then to summarise the point, Matthew writes in v35 that Jesus goes through all the towns “preaching the good news of the Kingdom” and healing people crippled by every disease and sickness.
In v36 his compassion doesn’t end at those crippled by disease and sickness, it also swells to the crowd. Jesus sees their harassment, and helplessness, and is moved to the core of his being.
Then, we hear Jesus’ famous words:
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field".
Here’s what Lui and Ane helped me see.
Who is the harvest Jesus is speaking of?
It’s the frail few, and the hapless heap. It’s those who know they are in crisis, and those who don’t. It’s those who are crippled by circumstance, and the crowd.
It’s the haemorrhaging, and the harried. It’s those crippled by health, spiritual, and financial trauma. It’s those haunted by poverty, and left out of society. It’s the broken. It’s the possessed. It’s the bereaved. It’s the helpless crowd.
I’m profoundly grateful that the good news of the kingdom is that the king himself would allow himself to be crucified for those crippled by trauma, and the crowds.