© November 14, 2018 | Schulter Etyang
And having seen the crowds He was moved with compassion concerning them because they were exhausted by their troubles and their long, aimless wanderings, and had thrown themselves to the ground in an utterly prostrate condition as sheep not having a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36 (Wuest – The New Testament: An Expanded Translation)
Our world is full of exhausted people. From Wall Street to K-Street, boardrooms to the warehouse floors, father to the newly born baby, pulpit to the Children’s Church. We are an exhausted world.
The two Greek words used for fainted and scattered in the KJV version are eklyo and rhipto, which mean to become weary (exhausted), to the point of fainting and to throw down, respectively. Imagine the Rock’s Rock bottom move in WWE. That is what it means to be thrown to the ground.
Where does this exhaustion come from?
First, we are creatures of performance. Ever since Adam and Eve fell, our internal conditioning went from rest to sweat of the brow hard work. (Genesis 3:19 NKJV) Our internal clocks, since then, have been set to work. We have to work and work hard. Consequently, when we fail to work, we are besieged with guilt and condemnation. The end result of condemnation is punishment. This endless loop of work – failure – guilt – condemnation – punishment causes exhaustion.
Second, if we are not dealing with internal sources of exhaustion, we are dealing with external ones. The need to get more, do more, become more, achieve, invest, be more spiritual, prayerful, educated, wealthy, more loving, moral, get a promotion, buy property, climb the corporate ladder, drive the latest car, association with who’s who, the rat race, Instagram, dieting and exercise, travelling and holidaying, shopping—these and more make us exhausted.
What results from exhaustion? Sickness and disease. Jesus taught and preached the gospel and healed every sickness and disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35) The reasoning is that Jesus healed them because they were sick. Of course. Science tells us that when we overwork, our immune system is suppressed, which leads to various sicknesses and diseases. Chronic fatigue, mental illness, obesity, tumours, eczema, hives, anxiety disorders, cancer, kidney disease, etc, are caused by severe exhaustion.
Jesus offers exhausted people something. His offer? The good news.
Jesus travelled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. (Matthew 9:35 NLT)
Exhausted people need to listen to the good news about the kingdom. The good news? Yes! The good news of who Jesus is, and what he has done for us through his work on the cross. The good news that Jesus gives rest, healing, peace, and so much more to us. The good news that Jesus has taken away our sins and the guilt and the condemnation we deserved. The good news that Jesus secured for us all the wealth, prestige, acceptance, honour, love, power, relationships, status, and so much more – everything that we long for.
Exhausted people don’t need laws, steps, principles, lists and keys. Why? Laws, steps, principles, lists and keys are our internal conditioning. Day in, day out we live and breathe these. These are inescapable. Therefore, when exhausted people come to Jesus, he gives them another word. A word alien to them. The good news is that word.
The Greek tense on teaching and preaching is the present active. This means that teachers and preachers must continuously and actively teach and preach the good news to exhausted people. It is not just a stand-alone sermon here and there. The good news must play in our ears on an endless loop.
Jesus sees exhausted, thrown to the ground, sick people, but he also sees a great harvest. (Matthew 9:37 NLT) A great harvest? Our families, friends, co-workers, bosses, enemies etc. The contact list on your phone or your Facebook friends is a good place to start.
Alternatively, look in a mirror. Have you noticed the lines on your face and bags under your eyes? The feigned smile? Have you noticed, no matter how much you use the best skin products, your skin is still dull? You sleep hard and long but still wake up tired. Notice how angry, anxious and confused you are? You are the harvest Jesus talks about.
Somebody asked me, “Yoh bro, why do we need more churches?” I answered with a question. “Yoh bro, do you think we need more trained doctors and better-equipped hospitals in South Africa?” My point was this – As long as exhausted, thrown to the ground, sick, and sheep without a shepherd exist, we need more churches. More than ever, our generation needs churches that will unveil Jesus and his grace to us. Teachers and preachers that will teach and preach the good news of the kingdom.
Hey Christian, are you exhausted? On the cross, Jesus took our place of exhaustion and we took his place of rest. He became sick so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:4 NLT) Receive the rest that Jesus our great Shepherd gives to us (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
That’s what grace looks like