Matthew 9:35-38 What Kind of Man Sends Out Missionaries?

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

What Kind of Man Sends Out Missionaries?

Cultural imperialists send out missionaries.  This is an in-vogue term used by many to slam countries like England and the USA sending missionaries to Africa, Asia, and South America.  There is a valid claim that those who were sent in centuries gone by were sent as part of a move to build an empire.  The empire had more about perpetuating a European way of life than it did about anything else.  As people in third world (problematic term that smacks of ranking) countries chose the God of the foreign missionaries they became more compliant and sent their resources abroad with less resistance.  As the world wakes up from cultural imperialism it questions why The British Museum houses so many treasures from its former empire.  The world questions how so many resources are produced in poverty and consumed by wealthy people in developed countries.  Historically, it is argued, Catholic and Protestant Missionaries destroyed the cultural heritage of indigenous people and built an empire in their own image upon the ashes.  What kind of egotistic, power-hungry, greedy individuals could do such a thing?

However, Jesus himself did send out missionaries.  He did have ideas that things should change, even within his own country.  As he looked out at the misguided and subjugated masses, he decided that his own disciples needed to bring about a revolution.  This was not to be a smash and grab revolution where the fat-cats in power are forced to redistribute their wealth.  A new kingdom was to reign in the land that set captives free from poverty, sin, sickness, and rebellion.  Same as today, though, there were few who would challenge the status quo or leave their own comfort to make a difference.


  1. What does Jesus do as he travels?
  2. What does Jesus see?
  3. Who does Jesus ask to pray about the crowds who do not know him?
  4. Who do you see who is lost or hurting?
  5. How do you show compassion on those who are lost and hurting?  Do you pray that God will send out workers?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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1 Response to Matthew 9:35-38 What Kind of Man Sends Out Missionaries?

  1. Kelli says:

    1. Teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel, healing the sick.
    2. The crowds–harassed and helpless.
    3. His disciples.
    4. Neighbors, family members, people around the world.
    5. Befriending neighbors. Loving on family. Sponsoring a child in Africa. This is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being at Moody…being a part of training workers who will go all around the world as workers for the harvest. After 14 years, I am still in awe that I get to have a hand in that.

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