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Summary: Jesus says the fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35) – are you ready for His Harvest?

THE HARVEST - ARE YOU READY?

John 4: 27 to 41

1.Introduction: Are you ready?

Jesus says the fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35) – are you ready for the Harvest? Especially when the signs are that the time is getting shorter to reap the harvest. As Matt Redman sings, “Time is so short, we can not squander this love”.

The Harvest may be ripe but you know there are a number of telling examples of people who found it difficult to get to Jesus – some had to go to extraordinary measures just to get to Him. Perhaps that’s why we could have an alternative title for this sermon today:

“Do we make short people climb up trees to see Jesus!”

Remember Zacchaeus ~ rather on the short side and a hated tax collector. He so wanted to see who Jesus was, but Luke (19:3) tells us “being a short man he could not, because of the crowd”. Zacchaeus however, was so determined nothing was going to get in his way ~ he simply climbed a tree just to see Jesus. And Jesus knew exactly where to find him!

Or consider the group of men carrying their paralysed friend on a mat to bring him to Jesus. Mark (2:4) tells us “They could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd”. Again that wasn’t going to stop this enterprising group – they actually made an opening in the roof and, after digging through it, lowered their friend thru the roof to get him to Jesus.

Sometimes we can crowd people out from getting to Jesus. You know being part of the crowd can be thrilling ~ anyone enjoying the football matches would know the excitement of being part of the crowd. BUT crowds are hardly quiet places and we can get in the way ~ crowding out people desperate to get to Jesus

2. Other examples:

Quite often people didn’t meet the stringent Jewish religious rules of the day and found it difficult to get to Jesus.

· Think of the Samaritans “not quite right”! But Jesus shared the good news with them and actually stayed in their village.

· Or the woman subject to bleeding. As she was too afraid to approach Him directly, perhaps because of her condition she merely touched the edge of His cloak. But Jesus knew someone had touched Him.

· Lepers had to live outside the city because they were unclean. But Jesus actually touched them – and they were healed with compassion and love.

· Mothers bringing their children to Jesus – the disciple’s thought Jesus should not have to be bothered by them – are we the same? Jesus took time to bless them and held them in His arms.

· Nichodemus came by night - it obviously wasn’t a good career move to be seen coming to Jesus. Yet the things Jesus said stayed with him, and we know later on Nichodemus openly followed Jesus.

· Or the two blind men in Matthew 20 (29 – 34) when they heard that Jesus was going by shouted “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” But “The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet”. I just love the next bit; it says “but they shouted all the louder”! I’m glad they did, because Jesus touched their eyes and they received their sight. And more importantly “ they followed Him”.

3. What about now?

You know its rather telling that there are numerous examples of people who found it difficult to get to Jesus in the Bible – but is it any different today?

Our dear friend Ruth was giving out invitations to people shopping in Bristol to come to a Christian outreach event. Not for the faint hearted! Especially as two men told her “You won’t want us love – we’re gay!” Ruth was inspired to say that Jesus would want them. But quietly she thought how right they were. No they probably would not be wanted. Isn’t that sad when Jesus came into the world to save sinners?

Maybe we have managed to attract the good “sinners” what about the bad!!

In Matthew (22:10) we are told that God wants us to go out and invite everyone “good or bad”! The Father Heart of God wants everyone to be there “make them come in, so that my house may be full”. We may be surprised about the people Jesus wants us to go to – maybe people we don’t like! But then think of the people Jesus reached out to with love and compassion. The despised Samaritan woman ~ divorced five times and living with someone else, the detested tax collectors or the woman embarrassing caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t have any reservations about the kind of people He cared for and spoke to. He still doesn’t! .

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