KEY THOT: Jesus saw the crowd as sheep without a shepherd—so he felt compassion for them. Notice that it was only as he saw them as “sheep without a shepherd” that he had compassion on them. This was followed by the act of teaching them “many things”. Compassion motivates Jesus to teach. But compassion is triggered by how he saw people—lost sheep exposed to spiritual and moral dangers, without direction in life and without hope in this world.
However, if we see the lost as sinners deserving to go to hell, we are likely to feel indifferent to them. It's would be like how people feel about criminals who are sentenced to life imprisonment--they got what they deserve. Why should we sacrifice our time. energy and money to help them get out of the punishment?
Evangelism (like Alpha) is only possible when church people see outsiders as victims-- sheep without a shepherd, manipulated by demonic forces and wandering aimlessly. They are ignorant of the dangers and are being attacked by the wolves of this world. Satan and his demons have a free hand enslaving the lost sheep in his domain by binding them in demonic strongholds and sinful addictions. Only when we share with them that Christ has come to be their Shepherd-King by teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that they will know they can be set free “from the domain of darkness and transferred...into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).
I am glad our church is running Alpha. Alpha provides opportunities for the lost sheep to be found through a series of teaching about the Kingdom. And it is always a great joy when we see people who were once spiritually and morally lost find Christ and rescued out of slavery in Satan’s domain into the freedom of Christ’s kingdom. The harvest is indeed plentiful when we are focused on proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom because lost sheep will be found and delivered from demonic darkness into divine light. And it’s a great privilege to be God’s channel of salvation.
Father, You saw us as lost sheep and You sent Your Son to die for us in order to be our Shepherd to guide us and show us how to live under Your rule. We pray for people who are still lost that they might find life through the next Alpha. Amen.