Summary: This passage pictures one of the great lessons of the gospel and that is the evidence of faith. Jesus has just challenged us to open our eyes and look because the fields are white for harvest. Of course, He was talking about witnessing, about sharing th
Tonight’s passage is a fairly short passage and is really a very simply passage, but it pictures one of the great lessons of the gospel and that is the evidence of faith. We are still in chapter 4 of John verses 43-45. Jesus has just challenged us to open our eyes and look because the fields are white for harvest. Of course, He was talking about witnessing, about sharing the gospel message.
READ v. 43. You might remember that the people of Samaria had asked Jesus to stay so their family and friends might see Him. We are told in verse 40 that He did stay there for two days. So now Jesus left there and entered Galilee. He had great success in Samaria. V. 41 says because of his words many more became believers.
But Galilee was the area especially prepared by God for the Lord’s ministry, so Jesus returned to the area where most of His ministry was to be conducted. Galilee was the northernmost part of Palestine. It was divided into three districts: Judaea in the far south, Samaria in the middle, and Galilee in the north. God had prepared Galilee down through history for the coming of His Son’s ministry. There are several facts that show this.
1. Throughout history Galilee had been invaded and repopulated again and again with different people and cultures from all over the world. Over the years such an influx of differing people had created an atmosphere with new personalities and ideas.
2. Galilee was strategically located. The world’s leading roads passed right through its borders. Merchants from all over the world passed through and boarded in the inns of the cities.
3. Galilee was heavily populated. It was also surrounded by Samaritans, Phoenicians, and Syrians, making it an open door for world evangelization. It was one of the most fertile lands in that part of the world. This fact, plus the travelling trade, led numbers of people to settle within its borders. There were over 200 cities within the district of 15,000 people or more. There were multitudes for Jesus to reach.
4. Galilee was open to new and fresh ideas. Its people, having come from all over the world, were liberal minded, always looking for new and fresh ideas to stimulate and challenge their thinking.
It was for all of these reasons that Jesus chose Galilee to begin His ministry. It was an open door for people to spread the news that the Messiah had come and that the Kingdom of Heaven was being ushered in.
READ v. 44. Let’s spend a little time on this verse. Our first evidence of faith is honoring Jesus. When we begin to honor Jesus as our Lord, and respect Him as God’s Son, we are showing evidence that our faith is growing.
When Jesus went into Galilee, He stayed away from His hometown of Nazareth. His neighbors and fellow citizens had rejected Him. That's when Jesus said, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
Now as Jesus returned to Galilee, bypassing the city of Nazareth, He again referred to the fact that a prophet has no honor in His own country. I read v. 44 and wondered why Jesus would make a declaration about dishonor here. It seems out of place.
1. It might have been because Jesus’ heart was broken over His hometown. They were a special people to him He had played with some of them as a child, grown up with them, lived as a friend with them; and had fellowshipped, worked, eaten, and moved among them day in and day out. I’m sure the thought of their rejection and hostility toward Him often preyed upon His mind.
2. Maybe Jesus brought dishonor up at this point to prepare the disciples for persecution. They were severely persecuted by their fellow countrymen. He repeated that fact and tried to drive it into their minds. He wanted them prepared and not caught off guard when persecution came.
Now, back to the point: the first evidence that a person has faith is that he honors Jesus. You might notice between verses 44 and 45 there is a sharp contrast that Jesus makes between the refusal of Nazareth to honor Jesus and the receiving of Him by other Galileans.
Let’s note a few things. Is Jesus due the honor? Yes, He is due all the honor and glory in the universe.
- He is the Son of God who brought God’s presence among men.
- He is the Savior of the world who came to save men from perishing and made it possible for them to live forever.
- He is the Son of Man who came to earth to experience all the trials of life that He might feel and be touched by man’s infirmities and his weaknesses, and thereby become qualified to help man in all his suffering.