Matthew 9:37

New Testament

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

Pirkei Avot 2:15


14 Rabbi Elazar said: Be diligent in the study of the Torah; And know how to answer an epicuros, And know before whom you toil, and that your employer is faithful, for He will pay you the reward of your labor. 15 Rabbi Tarfon said: the day is short, and the work is plentiful, and the laborers are indolent, and the reward is great, and the master of the house is insistent. 16 He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it; If you have studied much Torah, you shall be given much reward. Faithful is your employer to pay you the reward of your labor; And know that the grant of reward unto the righteous is in the age to come.

 Notes and References

"... The first paragraph tells us that Jesus taught “in their synagogues,” proclaimed the gospel, and healed diseases. That Jesus taught in many synagogues indicates that he was welcomed into them. He “had compassion” on the crowds, because they were “like sheep without a shepherd.” The metaphor of the people Israel as “sheep without a shepherd” is drawn from the Scriptures (e.g., Ezekiel 4:5–15, Zechariah 10:2). The prophets used such language to criticize kings; it is so used here and elsewhere in the Gospels. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” calls to mind Rabbi Tarfon’s statement: “The day is short, the work formidable, the workers lazy, the wages high, the employer impatient” (m. Avot 2:15, Neusner, Torah from Our Sages) ..."

Allen, Ronald J. Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary (p. 27) Westminster John Knox Press, 2004

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