TOPIC:“It's Time To Reap a Harvest”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
TEXT:John 4:34-45, Phillips
“I have sent you to reap a harvest” (4:38, Phillips)
No doubt you have all at some time heard the familiar statement, “It's harvest time.” That is, the season has arrived when it is time for us to gather up the ripened crops from the fields. But I wonder, How many of us have ever heard such a thought expressed out of season? Certainly not many, if any. Can you imagine a farmer saying in the middle of winter, "It's harvest time. It's time to bring in the crops?" To all extent and purpose this just doesn't happen. We don't put the sickle to use until the crops are ripe for harvest. That is the law of the harvest which is laid down by nature.
But here enters the difficulty. In the verses before us we find the Lord of the Harvest pointing towards the green fields of the Samaritan countryside, and amazing His disciples with the statement “the fields are white already to harvest” (v. 35). Our problem, therefore, is to determine what our Lord meant by such a thought, realizing, that it was only about the end of January, some two and one half months to wait before the crop would be white enough to harvest.
Let us with the Holy Spirit as our Guide try to understand these words of Jesus as found in our text: "I have sent you to reap a harvest."
Consider, as we begin, how the Lord of the Harvest points out the SACREDNESS of the TASK. Think of this as we find it in verse 34: “My food is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” The New Living Translation puts it in these words: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing His work.”
Now this saying of Jesus can only be understood if you allow your mind to be awakened to the glorious facts which are now before us. The Master was in Samaria. His disciples had just returned from buying food in a nearby village. Upon their arrival, they were astonished to see Him talking with a Samaritan woman, thus trampling under foot the Jewish tradition which stated that no man must ever be caught holding a conversation alone with a woman, and especially, a Samaritan one at that.
The disciples, being wise, kept silent about this controversial issue, but went right on and urged Him to eat. Then revealing His heart to them, Jesus said: “I have food to eat that ye know not of” (v. 32). “My food is to do the will of him that sent me” (v. 34). “Now,” says the Master in effect, “there . . .