Jesus has a gut wrenching sense in this week’s readings. The word which Matthew uses to describe Jesus’ emotional response to what he sees is one of the most powerful at his disposal. Jesus looks upon the suffering people, the folks without a shepherd, running back and forth, and he is moved. I cannot explain Jesus’ response or even fully comprehend what he does next, but I can only stand in awe of it.
God’s faithful, steadfast love means that he gets into a relationship with us which defies all expectation and remains there when any reasonable person would have walked out the door. I have seen a few marriages like that, but God’s love for us exceeds all other measures of such love. Moses speaks to the front end of that relationship. The people of God are at the foot of Mt. Sinai. They have doubted and complained and rebelled in the few months since their dramatic departure from Egypt. But God establishes this covenant anyway. They are his treasured possessions and the kingdom of priests whom he has appointed.
Jesus doubles down on that relationship sending out his disciples on their first mission, a mission which he has extended to include us. Why us? I cannot answer that question. Like the Israelites of old I am not a good partner in this covenant. My love, as Hosea said this past Sunday is like a morning mist, the dew which evaporates in the morning sun. But He does it anyway.
The preacher wants to remember that Jesus does all this out of that compassionate and deep love for his creation, for you, for others, and for this whole world. Revel in it, delight in it, but do not imagine that you will understand it.