Summary: Next in sermon series through John
The Waiting Harvest
- Read John 4:27-38
Last week we saw Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. He asked for a drink. Spoke with a woman, a woman of the world, when societal norms said He shouldn’t. Because of His encounter, that woman’s life was changed. Because of His encounter, many others from the city came to know Him as their Lord and Savior.
I sure am glad Jesus was there that day. I sure am glad He saw what others normally wouldn’t. I sure am glad He did what others normally wouldn’t. It changed the lives of many people.
Think about it for a moment. The disciples had gone into town to get something to eat. This woman was coming out of town to the well to get some water. They must have passed on the street. 12 men. 12 preachers, passed this woman, and all they saw was a woman going to get water. All they saw was a woman alone in the middle of the day. All they saw was a worldly woman, for there was no other reason for this woman to be on the street, alone and unescorted, carrying a water pot in the middle of the day.
12 men passed her, but they were intent on getting something to eat. They were on a mission and in a hurry, they did not see a hurting woman. They never saw a person in need. They missed an opportunity.
How quickly they forgot what Jesu had said so recently to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but hath everlasting life.
How quickly they forgot what Jesus said to Nicodemus in verse 18, that anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is condemned already.
My friends, we cannot take too lightly the mission to which Jesus has called us. We can not take lightly the responsibility the Lord has given us. We cannot treat as unimportant, the call the Lord has placed on each of our lives. He has called you to be light in a dark world. He has called you to be salt, in a tasteless and rotting world. He has called you to be an ambassador, representing the Kingdom of God. He has called you to be a planter, sowing the seeds of the Gospel.
- Read John 4:34-38
Think for a moment, about the setting these words were spoken in.
In the plain that was near this well, there were vast fields of wheat. Of grain. It may be that as they walked along, they looked at these fields and lamented the fact that the wheat was not yet ripe. That it wasn’t ready to eat yet. If it had been, they could have simply walked into the field, picked some and had lunch, instead of having to go into town to buy something to eat. So they complained that it wasn’t ripe yet. But, if they had simply looked over their shoulders, they would have seen the crowd of people doing from the city, led by the woman herself.
These eager townspeople represented a harvest of a far greater kind-harvest that was much more important to our Lord than His lunch.
And you know my friend, you have been called to play a part in the great harvest that’s coming as well.
After our Lord had died on the cross and was raised from the dead, and just before He ascended to the Father, He told His disciples,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
That was His commission to them. And that’s our call to the work too. No matter what else may be happening in the world—no matter what the ‘unemployment numbers’ may be, or no matter what the economy looks like—for us, there is always an abundance of significant work to do! We operate in an entirely different ‘economy’ from everyone else; because Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, and that everything else we need would be provided for us (Matthew 6:33).
Now, as we look at this passage together, notice, the field is prepared.
1. THE FIELD IS PREPARED (v. 38).
When He speaks of the “labor” of others, the word that is used in the original text is one that speaks of hard, strenuous, wearisome work. In fact, it’s the same word that is used to describe Jesus’ condition when He arrived at the well at the beginning of the story—”being wearied from His journey” (v. 6). He is telling us that the work that He calls us to—the work of reaping the harvest of precious souls in His kingdom—although difficult, is a work that has been going on forever, and you and I are called to join the work of those who have gone before us.