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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Harvest --New Harvest --Samaritan Woman Part 6

I am going to post the entire teaching on the "harvest"  so none of it will be lost through splitting it.  Forgive the length, but enjoy its Truth.  Sandy

Jesus, the Sower, has sown His seed of truth in the good soil of this Samaritan woman. It will reap a harvest. First, the Samaritan woman had to know and believe in Jesus' deity.  Then the harvest of souls will come to Him through her.  After Christ revealed who He is to this Samaritan woman, she left her earthly water jar and went back to the town to tell the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” vv28-29 By leaving her water jar, she is showing Jesus that she will return to Him for more of His living water. She still isn't quite sure of Jesus' revelation that He is the Messiah, but she tells the townspeople to come and see Him for themselves. Previously, this woman had avoided these people, but after she met Jesus and He accepted her without condemnation, she is bold and courageous. She no longer feels unworthy or an outcast. She hurried to share the good news about this “Man” she had met. She peaked their interest, so they went to find Jesus too. The word of her testimony and the change in her made them want to go see Jesus for themselves.

The gender or race of this woman didn't matter to Jesus. She became an evangelist and soul-winner for Christ. The Supreme Evangelist revealed Himself to this one sinful woman and she brought a whole town to Him for salvation and peace. She was bold and courageous unlike Nicodemus who came to Jesus in darkness so he wouldn't be seen.  Eventually Nicodemus would accept and believe in Jesus, but this Jew/Gentile woman went quickly to tell others about Jesus.  This sinful woman was so grateful for Jesus' acceptance and lack of condemnation toward her that she ran to tell others about Jesus.  Jesus came first to the Jews, but when the majority of Jews rejected Him, He went to the Gentiles.  However, it is important to note that Jesus always returned to the Jews to teach them spiritual truth.  He didn't leave or forsake either the Jews or the Gentiles.  And we shouldn't forsake each other either!  All believers in Christ whether Jew or Gentile are chosen because of the Chosen and Precious Son of God -- Jesus Christ. What mankind -- both Jews and Gentiles -- couldn't do, God sent His own Son -- the very Seed of His loins -- to do it for us.

My Food
His disciples urged Jesus to eat the food that they had gone to get for Him. They were focused on “natural” food, but Jesus is focused on “spiritual” food. Jesus has just revealed spiritual water to the Samaritan woman. Now He will reveal spiritual food to His male disciples. Jesus gives revelation knowledge to both men and women. When they come together and share His revelation with each other, they will see and know the full Truth. Jesus reveals Truth to everyone who hungers for it no matter what gender, race or background.  He is no respecter of persons. 

Jesus had just told the Samaritan woman that they worshiped what they did not know. Then He revealed the truth about spiritual, living water. Now He tells His male disciples that He has food that they know nothing about – spiritual food. (see John 4:32) His disciples think that someone must have brought Jesus food while they were gone. They are still looking with “natural” eyes. Jesus then tells them about His food. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” v34   It is the bread of the Living Word, the water of the Living Spirit and doing the Father's will that satisfies Jesus. Jesus was walking in the midst of people who were spiritually dry and hungry. Reaching these lost souls was more important to Jesus than physical food. He came to do the will of His Heavenly Father. Jesus is the only human to walk the earth completely submitted to the will of God in perfect obedience. Obedience to the will of God was the essence of His being.

Jesus had a mission and a purpose, and He let nothing get in the way of accomplishing that purpose of God. He had to finish His work. This was His focus. Opposition was at Him on every side, but it didn't stop Him from doing what the Father sent Him to do. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up on the last day.” John 6:19 “The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29  Jesus' went through His suffering and death on the cross "for the joy set before Him."  What joy?  The joy of knowing that His suffering and death would defeat the devil and give new, spiritual life that was lost in Genesis to all who believe in Him.  The Godhead loves humanity because we are made in their image and likeness.  Jesus, out of His deep love for His Father, wanted to do what pleased the Father, and out of His and the Father's deep love for humanity suffered and died to restore us to eternal life.  The Father had a purpose for sending Jesus into the world, and Jesus had the purpose of fulfilling all that the Father told Him to do.  In His prayer to His Father, Jesus said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave Me to do. And now Father glorify Me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:4  All that Jesus did while walking on earth brought glory to God because of His pure words, acts and deeds.  

God has a purpose and a plan for everyone who belongs to His Son.  When believers finish the work God has called them to do for His Kingdom, He is pleased. Like Jesus, we are to not let opposition stop His work in us and through us. The devil will come at us on every side, but God has not left us alone. He is with us. It is also important that believers know and understand the purpose God has called them to and stick with it.  Don't try to do what God has called someone else to do.   Stay with your own calling and work together with the others and their calling.  We are one body and are to have one mind -- the mind of Christ -- one faith,  and one Holy Spirit. 

Jesus brought glory to God on earth because of His obedience to His Father's will and Word. Now Jesus wants to return to His former glory with the Father before the heavens and the earth were created.  Jesus did all that He was called to do at His first coming.  He will come again to complete the will of His Heavenly Father and restore all back to its original holy condition in the beginning of Genesis.

Sower, Reaper and Harvest-- A New Harvest
Do you not say “Four months and then the harvest?” Jesus is speaking of an earthly harvest here but Jesus wants His disciples to see His spiritual harvest using an earthly harvest as an example. “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws His wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. Thus the saying, “One sows and another reaps” is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:35-38   No doubt Jesus was standing by a field of grain ready for harvesting when He spoke this.  He used the "natural" to speak "supernatural" truths.  Jesus will bring in a "new" spiritual harvest.   

In an earthly harvest, it takes four months before the grain can be harvested. There is a time limit. But, Jesus is speaking about a “new” harvest that is ready now – a spiritual harvest! The harvest is all around us! An earthly harvest requires many laborers . A harvest that is ready must be reaped quickly or it will be lost or rot. Jesus said, “Today is the day of salvation.”  God's spiritual harvest is ready now and will require many laborers. Jesus even said that the harvest is great and the laborers are few. (see Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2)

The harvest is the culmination of a whole process that has taken place. First the field must be cleared and plowed. Then the seed must be sown and nurtured (watered and fed). Next, the weeds must be pulled out, and then the hardest part – wait for the fruit! Since the “natural” speaks to the “supernatural,” God works the same way with people. The seed of the Word must be sown into the hearts and minds of earthly humans. The ground of their stony hearts must be turned over to receive the seed of God's Word both the Living and the written. Then the Seed of the Word must be watered by the Holy Spirit, and the weeds (sin) must be removed. As the sun and the rain nurture the earthly seeds, the Son and the water of the Holy Spirit nurture the spiritual seed. Waiting upon God to produce the spiritual fruit might be the hardest part. In this day and age, we want instant results. But God isn't in a hurry. He wants to make sure the crop is matured and ready. God will bring forth fruit in His time. (Galatians 6:8; Psalms 126:5)  And in His time, He will gather the spiritual harvest of earth to Himself.  (see Revelation 14:16)

Jesus told His disciples to open their eyes and look at the fields. No doubt the townspeople to whom this Samaritan woman had testified about Jesus were coming toward Him across an earthly field. Even now, Jesus is reaping a harvest from the Truth He spoke to the Samaritan woman. “His Word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish that for which He sent it.” (Isaiah 55: 11)  Jesus sowed the Seed – the Truth – into this sinful woman and she shared His Truth with the whole town. The harvest was coming.  Jesus wants us to open our spiritual eyes and see that there is a harvest of souls ready for harvesting. God gave us the Seed – Word of God (Jesus) -- and He gave us the desire to sow. God is also the One who provides the laborers and matures the grain for harvesting, so God is to get all the glory. This Samaritan woman was fruitful because she acted upon Jesus' Word quickly. Jesus and His disciples reaped the harvest of this woman's labor.  When Truth is sown, people reap eternal life in Christ. Jesus was probably saying, “Look, here comes a harvest” as He pointed to the harvest of souls brought to Him by this one redeemed sinful woman who was of Jewish and Gentile descent. It is the Bride of Christ whom this woman represents who will bring in the great harvest of souls to Jesus. 

Harvest time is a time of great joy. The harvest is what the farmers and the laborers work for, so it is a time of rejoicing and gratitude.  When the final harvest of souls are gathered to Jesus, there will be great rejoicing in heaven.

Jesus is both the Sower and the Reaper. (Matthew 13:3; Revelation 14: 6)   “In Him all things consist” Colossians 1:17 because He is God.  And His followers are His sowers and reapers. Jesus only has His followers to work through now that He has returned to His Father in glory.  Sowing and reaping are laborious, so we are to ask Jesus to send out laborers in the field. (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2)  Jesus wants us to sharpen our sickle. In other words, get a hold of God's Truth and understand it. Sharpen your knowledge of the Word. Use the “cutting” Truth as well as the soft Truth. Know how to use the Truth. You cannot reap without the wisdom of the Word. Some will sow. Others will feed and nurture, and still others will bring in the mature harvest, but all are laborers for one Lord. (see 1 Corinthians 3:6-9)  There is no competition in Jesus' spiritual harvest. As the Sower and Reaper rejoice together in Jesus Christ, the sowers and reapers in the Bride of Christ are to rejoice together. 

Sowing and Reaping
Sowing and reaping is a law in the “natural” realm as well as the “spiritual” realm. In Genesis 1:12, God produced seed-bearing plants and trees that would bear fruit according to their kind. The seed was in the fruit which would reproduce according to its kind. 
This is also true in the spiritual realm. God sent His Seed – Jesus – into the world to produce fruit of like kind! The Seed of the Anointed Word produces the fruit of the Spirit. We are to become like Christ, the Seed of God. The “natural” seed and fruit were given to Man/Adam for food. The same is true in the spiritual. The seed of the Word and the fruit of the Holy Spirit are to nourish the Body of Christ. Not one of Jesus' seeds will fall to the ground but will bear spiritual fruit.

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:7-8 that followers of Christ will reap what we sow. When we choose an action, we choose the consequences of the action. Therefore, we must choose our actions carefully because they are going to bear fruit. Matthew 12:33: Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. If we are the Bride of Christ, we are to reflect Christ. He is the Seed of God, and we are His followers. Therefore, we are to look like Him and bear His fruit. If we sow from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we will bear good spiritual fruit. If we sow to the flesh and the devil, we will bear bad spiritual fruit. (see Galatians 6:9; Proverbs 11:18) God will bring forth fruit in His time. He will also destroy the evil fruit. In the end, there will be a harvest of both. The good will be gathered to Jesus and eternal life, but the bad will be gathered and burnt up.

God warned Israel that if they followed idols, the law of sowing and reaping would stop and their crops would fail. They would plant seed in vain. (see Leviticus 26:14-17) The more seed planted, the more fruit is harvested! This is true of both good seed and evil seed. Unfortunately, in today's world, there is more evil seed (that which is contrary to God's ways, will and Word) being planted. At some point, God will have to harvest the earth before evil takes over completely. The One who sits on the throne will gather the good, spiritual harvest (Revelation 14:14-18), but there is another angel with fire and one with a sharp sickle who will gather the evil harvest and throw them into the great winepress of God's wrath to be burned. Jesus will gather the wheat (godly ones) and separate them from the tares (false weeds). There is a consequence to our spiritual choices as well as our earthly ones. I pray that all will choose Jesus and gain eternal life. The Chosen One of God who is God is the only way to the Father and Eternal life.


Harvest Feasts in the Older Testament

    God's biblical feasts are in the harvest seasons:

          Barley harvest – April-May (Passover) 

          Wheat harvest – 7 weeks later (Pentecost)  
          Autumn harvest – Harvest of fruit from the
                                        trees and the vines (Tabernacles)
Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Ingathering) is at the end of the harvest season. 

God used the earthly feasts given to Moses to paint a picture of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the seven feasts established in the Older Testament. He is the Passover Lamb. He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and He is the tabernacle of God who was, is and will forever be with mankind. At the end of the age of grace and truth, Jesus will gather the spiritual fruit of the earth – His spiritual Bride – to Himself.  The first four feasts are the planting of the seed -- Jesus, the Word of God -- and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to teach the Truth and empower Jesus' followers to do the work of establishing God's spiritual kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.   The barley harvest is the grain of the poor.  In the spiritual, you can say the poor in spirit -- the humble.  The wheat harvest in the spiritual is the harvest of the godly, empowered believers.  And the autumn harvest is the harvest of the spiritual fruit of the humble and godly ones.  This harvest will come at the end of the age of grace and truth.  The last three feasts in the spiritual represent the complete and final call (Trumpets) and the final and complete atonement of the earth.  The spiritual Feast of Tabernacles and the complete atonement of the world will be celebrated with eternal joy with the Godhead in the New spiritual Jerusalem in heaven.  These feasts could only become "everlasting" (eternal) in Christ.  Nothing can be made eternal or everlasting except in Christ Jesus who is the Eternal One begotten of God.  All things were created through Jesus, so all things must return to the Father through Jesus in order to be eternal, including the Law and the Prophets.  We are no longer under the Law because Jesus is the Law brought to eternal life in Him.  He fulfilled it for all who believe in Him.

This Samaritan woman acted upon Jesus' Word and brought in a harvest.  Jesus and His disciples will reap the harvest of what this woman has sown.  Once this Samaritan woman shared her testimony of Jesus, the townspeople too sought Him and asked Him to abide with them so they could learn more about Him.  The Bible says in Amos 9:13 that a day is coming when sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting will run into each other with no break in between!  There will be constant preparing, sowing and reaping.  One will prepare the ground for the seed to be received.  The reaper will be overtaken by the plowman.  The grapes will be tread and bring in the "new" wine.  This has been happening throughout the age of grace.

The Bible says that many, many more became believers because of Jesus' words.  The townspeople no longer believed just because of the Samaritan woman's testimony.  "We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." v42   Every person must come to know Jesus for themselves. (see 1 John 4:14 also) This is a "new" title given for Jesus -- Savior of the world.  They had learned that He is the Savior as well as Messiah.  Jesus sowed the Truth to this woman and reaped a harvest.  He also revealed another piece of His mission and character to these townspeople.  Jesus reveals Himself slowly and progressively just as God did in the Older Testament scriptures.  God's ways do not change.  Revelation knowledge of Jesus is slow and progressive.
The Samaritan woman at the well prepared the way for the ministry of Philip in Samaria. Philip reaped a harvest of her labors and many were brought to Christ. (see Acts 5:8-25) Jesus said, “one sows and another reaps is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefit of their labor.” vv37-38  Most of us reap the benefits of those who worked hard and went before us. Some who sow may not live to  see the harvest, but we are to continue to sow. The sowing, reaping and harvesting is for God. And, we all rejoice together without jealousy, envy or competition.  Amen and amen.


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