|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:35-38 Jesus visited not only the great and wealthy cities, but the poor, obscure villages; and there he preached, there he healed. The souls of the meanest in the world are as precious to Christ, and should be so to us, as the souls of those who make the greatest figure. There were priests, Levites, and scribes, all over the land; but they were idol shepherds, Zec 11:17; therefore Christ had compassion on the people as sheep scattered, as men perishing for lack of knowledge. To this day vast multitudes are as sheep not having a shepherd, and we should have compassion and do all we can to help them. The multitudes desirous of spiritual instruction formed a plenteous harvest, needing many active labourers; but few deserved that character. Christ is the Lord of the harvest. Let us pray that many may be raised up and sent forth, who will labour in bringing souls to Christ. It is a sign that God is about to bestow some special mercy upon a people, when he stirs them up to pray for it. And commissions given to labourers in answer to prayer, are most likely to be successful.
Verse 38. - Pray ye. Express it as your personal need (δεήθητε, here only in the New Testament outside the writings of St. Luke and St. Paul). Therefore. Since more workers are so greatly needed. The Lord of the harvest; cf. Clem. Romans, § 34, who illustrates the thought by a most interesting composite quotation of Isaiah 40:10 (Isaiah 62:11; Proverbs 24:12)and Revelation 22:12. That he will (omit with the Revised Version) send forth. (Ὅπως ἐκβάλῃ; ut ejieiat, Vulgate [Wordsworth and White], ut mittat, Vulgate [ordinary edition].) The verb suggests alike his constraining power and their separation from their previous position (cf. Matthew 7:4). Mr. J. A. Robinson's note, however, in the Cambridge 'Texts and Studies,' I. 3:124, shows that one must not lay much stress on the thought of constraint. Labourers into his harvest.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,.... By "the Lord of the harvest" is either meant God the Father, whose are all the elect, who has a hearty concern for them, and will have them all gathered in, not one of them shall be left; or the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who has the care and charge of the whole election of grace; and who as he must, he will bring them all in; and who has power of sending forth labourers, as the following chapter shows; and so this is a proof of prayer being made to Christ;
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. This is the petition the disciples of Christ were put upon making to the Lord of the harvest, on consideration of the present condition multitudes of souls were in: they could not make, qualify, and send out ministers themselves; this is not man's work, but God's: he only is able to furnish with ministerial gifts, to work upon, and powerfully incline the hearts of men to this service, to call and send them forth into it, and to assist and succeed them in it. The persons desired to be sent are "labourers"; faithful, diligent, and industrious preachers of the Gospel; such as lay out themselves, their time, talents, and strength, in their master's service; and do not indulge themselves in sloth and idleness: the place they are desired to be sent into is, "into the harvest"; into the field of the world, where God's elect lie, and there labour in preaching the Gospel; hoping for a divine blessing, and an almighty power to attend their ministrations, for the conversion of sinners, and edification of saints. The request the disciples are directed to make, concerning these persons for this work, is, that the Lord of the harvest would "send", or "thrust" them "forth"; implying power and efficacy, and authority, on the part of the sender; and backwardness on the part of those that are sent, through modesty: a sense of the greatness of the work, and of their own unworthiness and unfitness for it. Very opportunely did our Lord move his disciples to put up this petition, and was done, no question, with a view to, and to prepare for, his mission of the twelve to preach the Gospel, of which there is an account in the next chapter.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest—the great Lord and Proprietor of all. Compare Joh 15:1, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman."
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest—The word properly means "thrust forth"; but this emphatic sense disappears in some places, as in Mt 9:25, and Joh 10:4—"When He putteth forth His own sheep." (See on Mt 4:1).
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