[From July 3, 2012]
"When (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Harassed & helpless. That's what Jesus saw when he looked at the crowds of people who gathered around him. Harassed & Helpless. Of course, there wasn't any particular person harassing them, per se. they were being overwhelmed by life. By their physical health. By their economic condition. By their social standing. There was an inner turmoil in the lives of so many... and they were helpless to change it.
So despite the fact that Jesus (and the Disciples) was often tired when he met them, he could see through their condition to their heart. They needed God's peace & healing. They needed a shepherd to look after them.
We within the church so often forget what it's like to be "without a shepherd." We take for granted the reservoir of amazing grace & unending love that God bestows upon us daily. It's available to everyone, but we, as Christians, know we can draw upon that to help get us through. We also forget that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus." That's comforting! So instead of trying to get people to "come to church," we need to start introducing them to The Great Shepherd. That will go a long way to helping alleviate their feelings of being harassed & helpless.