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John 4:27-42

 

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the town and were coming to him.

 

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.'I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."


Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." 
(ESV)

 

Seeing Fields White Unto Harvest

Tuesday of Pentecost 3

16 June 2015

What does Jesus see? Jesus sees fields white unto harvest (Jn 4:35). In the Bible, this word for "white" often refers to the glorious shining clothing of the Angels. It refers to the final character of those whom the Lord sees. It is the color of the robes worn by those who on judgment day are among the people of every language nation tribe and people standing before the throne of the Lamb giving Him eternal glory and praise. It is the very holiness of God. This is the seeing of Jesus.

 

Sinners, sinners like us, are no longer seen by Jesus according to the law, but according to the gospel which is displayed in his suffering death, and glorious resurrection, all done for sinners like us. Therefore, we cannot see the world as those who are unworthy. For the Lord has justified even the worst sinners. St. Paul says, "at the right time Christ died for the ungodly...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rm 5:6, 8). Notice that we should conclude that Christ died for sinners because He died for us. And that puts us all in the same boat under the sight of a gracious Lord Christ; seeing sinners clothed as the fields of white unto harvest. God in Christ has justified the whole world. When Christ says that God so loved the world, that love must work itself out in the divine activity: that the Father gave His only begotten Son.

 

When such a thing is happening, when this is the seeing of our Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot sit on the sideline. We may not be dispassionate, or uninvolved. The Word of God tells us who these in such desperate need are. They are us. There is no one on the outs. For Christ has died for all. Jesus sees no "us and them." He sees only neighbors, friends, even blood-bought relatives. Here He doesn't even see the enemy-sown-field full of weeds, as in the parable of the wheat and the weeds. That reality has its place, but not here. Not in the gospel.

 

John records these words for us that we might align our seeing like Christ's. It is a non-seeing seeing for us. The sight for blindness, a blind seeing. Since what the word says is, since God's speech brings into being, what we see with Jesus, though we see it not, is. He sees the light calling it into being in Genesis. He sees the fields white unto harvest calling them into being. It is a view and perception that only God can give through the power of His Word.

 

Augustine of Hippo

 

"Let us show something clearer still touching this harvest in the gospel according to John, where the Lord sat resting at the well, great mysteries indeed were conducted.... We have undertaken to show a harvest among the people among whom the prophets preached. For the prophets were sowers that the Apostles might be harvesters. A woman of Samaria talks with the Lord Jesus (Jn 4), and when the Lord among other things had told her how God ought to be worshiped, she says, '"I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he"'(Jn 4:25-26). She had said, 'I know that the Messiah is coming,' whom Moses and the Prophets have announced, 'who is called Christ.' The harvest was already in the ear. When it had yet to grow it had received the Prophets as sowers, now that it was come to ripeness it waited for the Apostles as reapers. As she heard this she believed and left her water bucket, and ran quickly to announce the Lord.

 

The disciples had gone to buy bread. On their return found the Lord talking with the woman, and they were amazed. Yet they did not dare say to Him, 'Why are you talking to her?' They were shocked, but they repressed their boldness in their heart. To this Samaritan woman then the name of Christ was nothing new, she was already waiting for His coming. She believed that He would come. How had she believed it, if Moses had not sown? But hear this more expressly noted. The Lord then said to His disciples, 'Do you not say, "There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest"' (Jn 4:35). Then He adds, 'I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor' (Jn 4:38). Abraham labored, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Prophets labored in sowing. At the Lord's coming the harvest was found ripe. The harvesters sent with the scythe of the gospel and carried the sheaves to the Lord's threshing floor."

Augustine, Sermons on Luke, 51.2
 
Prayer

Lord Jesus, You have commanded that we pray for You to send laborers into the harvest fields, that those whom the prophets and patriarchs have sown might be reaped and brought into Your barn. Give us the courage to proclaim Your life-giving Word to those around us that they might become part of the holy church. Amen.

 

For those who are expecting inclement weather, that they would be kept safe from flooding

 

For Jim Keller, who is in the hospital, that the Lord would grant him full healing

 

For all those who are seeking work, that the Lord Jesus Christ would grant them labor in keeping with their vocation

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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