10.01.03 Mt. 9:35-38 (See also Mk. 6:6b)
NEED FOR WORKERS
35 Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Finding good employees has always been a problem for employers throughout history. Again, Jesus used a common phrase later recorded in the Mishnah: “One rabbi said, ‘The day is short and the task is great, and the laborers are lazy; but the wages are high, and the master of the house is urgent.’” The common people, known as the am-ha-arets, meaning the unlearned, were uneducated by Jerusalem standards, but were well educated in biblical knowledge.
“Their synagogues.” Matthew used this phrase several times, as if to suggest a future separation between Jesus and traditional Judaism (although a break was never the intent). He also spoke of “their” scribes (Mt. 7:29) and “their” cities (Mt. 11:1). Even though followers of Jesus functioned within Judaism throughout most of the first century, by the end of the Second Revolt in A.D. 135, there was a clear separation.
“Harvest.” The term is symbolic of fullness of time, in-gathering, ripeness, as well as judgment. But now is the time of gathering the proverbial crops, those lost souls who have not heard of the Kingdom of God. Then will be the separation of the sheep from the goats (Mt. 25:31-46).
10.01.03.Q1 Concerning Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2, who is the “Lord of the harvest?”
The Lord of’ the Harvest is none other than God the Father. It is Jesus who sows the good seed
and an angel that will be the harvester. Jesus has been given the authority by God the Father to give blessings to His children and to execute judgment upon those who have rejected Him.
. Mishnah, Aboth 2:15.
. Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. 292; Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:348.
. Mt. 4:23; 9:35; 10:17; 12:9; 13:54; 23:34.
. 4 Ezra 4:28-32; Jer. 51:33; Hos. 6:11; Joel 3:13; Mt. 3:12; 13:30, 39; Jn. 4:35; Rev. 14:15.
. See 09.03.15, the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. Mt. 9:38; Lk. 10:2.