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Sunday, July 1, 2018

posted Jul 1, 2018, 9:37 PM by Site Administrator

 OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AT THE FIELDS!

 

John 4:27-42

Key Verse 4:35

 

35 “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

 

First, “My food is to do the will of him” (27-34). Look at verse 27. Shortly after Jesus revealed Himself to the Samaritan woman, His disciples returned and found Him talking with her. They were shocked. In those days, it was not customary for a man and a woman to speak in public to each other even between husband and wife. So, it was more than shocking to the disciples that Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman in public. But verse 27 states that no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” They trusted in whatever Jesus was doing even though Jesus broke the customary practice at that time. They did not raise any question against him. Instead, they believed that Jesus was doing something very important, which they could not understand yet. Because of this respect and honor to their Teacher, they could learn from Him, and grow up in spirit continuously. While they were still in shock, an even more amazing thing happened. The woman suddenly left her water jar by the well and began to run as fast as she could back to the town as if she were competing in the hundred-meter dash. “Wow! What’s going on here? Why doesn’t she take her water jar?” the disciples thought.

 

Through meeting Jesus as the one who had explained everything to her, she found Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus was the very “He” she had been looking and waiting for. “Jesus is He!” She was pumped. Then, amazingly, from the depth of her heart, deep satisfaction and happiness welled up and filled her heart. She could not keep this joy to herself. She got up and ran back to the town forgetting about her water jar. Then, she told the townspeople, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Before, she was a guilt-ridden, self-conscious, and isolated sinner. But when she met Jesus as her Messiah, all of her guilt and self-consciousness were gone. She was no longer afraid of what others might think of her, because she had met her Messiah who had already solved her problem. She powerfully testified what Jesus had done for her and who Jesus was, saying, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” She was a powerful evangelist to the townspeople. Her message was so convicting that people came out of the town and made their way toward Jesus.

 

Meanwhile Jesus’ disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something,” and they handed him food– maybe, orange chicken. It smelled really good. But how did Jesus respond? Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Jesus had no desire for food. When we see verse 6, Jesus was tired, thirsty and hungry from a long journey. But now in verse 32, Jesus was refreshed. He was no longer interested in physical food. Rather, Jesus looked at them with a joyful countenance and said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” It seemed that he had already eaten lunch. The disciples wondered and said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” What was the secret of Jesus’ refreshment? Look at verse 34. Let’s read this verse together:

 

 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

 

When Jesus says, “My food,” he is talking about the source of refreshment he had. By eating food, we are refreshed to continue to work. There are some people who find such joy and refreshment in making money, so they work hard, 60 or even 80 hours a week, but strangely, they are not tired, but full of spirit. Some people’s refreshment is video games. They stay up all night with red eyes playing video games. They don’t think about eating. But the source of Jesus’ refreshment was doing the work of God and finishing it. By doing the work of God and finishing it, Jesus was so satisfied and happy; he was refreshed. This shows us how wholeheartedly Jesus served the work of God. He didn’t consider doing the work of God as an obligation; he didn’t do the work of God reluctantly; instead, he did it with all his heart and strength; he wanted to do God’s work, and his heart was on it; then, when God’s work went on very well, he was overjoyed and happy that he forgot about his hunger, thirst and tiredness.

 

We all understand what Jesus is talking about. How happy we are when we see our students enjoying the word of God; even after doing Bible studies all day long, as we come home around 10 pm, we are not tired at all; instead, we are full of joy and happiness that from the parking lot, we sing songs of joy and praise so loudly that our neighbors recognize who is coming home, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.” Sometimes, our songs are totally out of tune, but we don’t care. Some shepherds go to school after long day’s work, and they struggle to serve students through one to one Bible studies; of course, often, they have no time to eat. But after serving Bible studies until 10 pm, they are overjoyed and completely refreshed that songs of joy and thanks burst forth from their lips. Who can understand this joy? Who can understand this secret? We can say to the world proudly, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Indeed, we can say, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me.” Only those who serve God’s work wholeheartedly, only those who pursue God’s kingdom can have this secret food. Jesus also says, “to finish his work.” Finishing God’s work means to complete God’s salvation work on people. Jesus completed God’s salvation work on the Samaritan woman. When Jesus saw her solving her thirst problem in him, he was overjoyed; when one lost sheep was found, he was overjoyed, and all of heaven rejoiced together. When he saw the woman turning to God, all his hard work thus far was paid off; he forgot about how he struggled to have one to one Bible study with her; he forgot about how she scratched his pride, saying to him, “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” His hard labor was well paid off, and he forgot about all his pains and sense of humiliation, for the joy of finding one lost sheep. During the semester, we struggle hard to fish students to teach them the word of God. Some of them are proud; some of them are unfaithful – they do not show up at the Bible study; some of them scratch our pride, saying, “Are you greater than the commentaries?” We endure so much pain and sorrows to serve the students through one to one Bible study. Sometimes, even if there is tremendous financial burden, and deep sorrows, we continue to teach God’s flock with the word of God, even with a big smile. Who can understand the shepherds’ pains and sorrows? Who can understand our agonies? But when we see just one sheep accepting God’s grace and turning to God decisively, we are so overjoyed; we simply forget about all those sorrows, pains and sense of humiliation completely for the joy of finding one lost sheep; we are filled with thanks and praise to God. Who can understand this joy and happiness we have? The world cannot understand it. We say, “It’s fun to serve God and to save souls.”

 

When we think about this expression “to finish his work” carefully, we understand that Jesus had a clear goal – he had a clear purpose in serving many people, that was, to finish God’s work of salvation in their lives. He wanted to save them. He wanted to finish God’s work; so he challenged them to repent and turn to God decisively; that’s why he, even though he knew that it was a very sensitive matter to her, challenged the woman to bring her husband and come back to him. What we do as shepherds and shepherdesses is not a volunteer service. We have a clear goal in teaching students the word of God – we want to save them; we want to help them repent and turn to God sincerely; our purpose is not just to share our profound understanding of the Bible with them, but to help them repent by turning from their worldly pursuits, from their sinful life, from their self-seeking life to the life of serving God—to the life of seeking God’s kingdom. For this purpose, we pray for them day and night; for this, we sometimes, challenge them to repent; sometimes, we severely rebuke them of their sinful and compromising lifestyle; sometimes, we patiently wait for them to repent in silence.  We are so sad when our sheep do not repent; that’s why we are so happy when one sheep grows up as a disciple of Jesus. Jesus did not send us into the world to just hand out Bible tracks; instead, he gave us a clear goal, saying, “Go, and make disciples of all nations.” That’s why we struggle hard to make all these college students disciples of Jesus. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Those who can say such words are truly blessed. They are the ones who live for God alone and follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, their Lord.

 

Second, “Open your eyes and look at the fields” (35-42). Look at verse 35. Let’s read this verse together:

 

35Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

 

Maybe, when Jesus said this, it was still summer, and harvest time came in the fall. So at that time, people said, “Four months more and then the harvest.” From the disciples’ perspective, Samaria was a corrupt city full of nothing but a bunch of gang bangers and drug addicts—a bunch of knuckleheads. The disciples wondered if harvest time would ever come to this city. So they never saw Samaria as a place to save many souls. In their eyes, the city needed more time and then, maybe, the people would be ready to accept the gospel message and repent of their sins. But Jesus had a different point of view. By saving one lost Samaritan woman through just one Bible study, He had a great vision to save all Samaritans with the word of God. If this woman could accept God’s grace through having Bible study with him just one time, then, everyone in Samaria could be blessed. If this most wild looking woman had been waiting for the Messiah, then, there must be so many more people in Samaria who were waiting for the Messiah. Thrilled with vision of saving all Samaritans, Jesus was filled with the desire to find them all; a great salvation work would occur and a great church would be established in Samaria! In His eyes, the city of Samaria was a golden harvest field, where so many people were ready and waiting for God’s salvation.

 

Jesus said to his disciples, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Jesus wanted his disciples to see the same vision for Samaria and for the whole world. If they saw the same vision he had, then they would be so excited about saving them all and about establishing the kingdom of God powerfully in Samaria. Even if some Samaritans have many scary tattoos, they would be able to bear with them and continue to serve them; if they saw the same vision, then, even if they might have their own urgent struggles whether financially, academically or nationally, still they would keep serving them and build God’s kingdom powerfully. But, the disciples did not share the same vision Jesus had; in their eyes, Samaria was really a terrible city, where ignorant and despicable people lived. The disciples did not want to have anything to do with them. When these Samaritans showed any negative attitude towards them, they were angry at them, saying, “How dare you...? If you don’t accept us as God’s servants, you will go to hell!” One time, they asked Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them?” When the disciples did not open their eyes and see them as the people ready for harvest, they could not serve Samaritans with genuine concern; even if they lived as Jesus’ disciples and tried to teach others the word of God, they were proud Jewish young men. The disciples thought they were better than others because they were Jesus’ disciples, and they were in the most powerful ministry at that time. Jesus earnestly said to them, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

 

Many say that America is too corrupt morally and spiritually and thus, her environment is not good for a spiritual harvest. They say millennials are terrible because they are very self-centered. Just look at their Facebook page! Some Christians say that they cannot bear fruit now, because the season of Christ has not yet come. What all these people say is: “Four months more, and then, the harvest.” But Jesus declares, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” In Jesus’ eyes, it is the golden harvest time, when so many people are fully ready to accept God’s grace. In America, now is the time for a great spiritual revival! American people are waiting for God’s salvation. Open your eyes and look at the fields.  

 

Some say that college students are focused on building their career that they are not interested in spiritual things; they also say that college students are party animals and like playing video games and are always on Twitter.  We assume that we have to wait until they are sick and tired of sinful life. Indeed, there are always people who say, “Four months more, and then the harvest.” But Jesus says, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” They have already hit the rock bottom; they are already sick and tired of their sinful life; they already know that life is so meaningless and empty; they are already looking for true meaning and purpose of their life. They are ripe for harvest. So many are dying and waiting for God’s salvation. Seeing all these students on our campuses, Jesus says to us, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Jesus wants us to go and save them all.  

 

Look at verses 36 through 38. Let’s read these verses together:

 

36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I 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.”

 

By saying, “Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life,” Jesus showed his disciples what era they were living in--the era of harvesting the crop for eternal life. He already drew his wages--the great joy he had in serving and saving one soul. Indeed, it was the time of harvest. And Jesus encouraged his disciples to live as the reapers, harvesting the crop for eternal life. The sowers, from Abraham to John the Baptist did the hard work to lay the foundation of the gospel. Most of them had lonely struggles when all others were worshiping idols. And many of them were killed because of their mission. One time God asked the prophet Isaiah to take off all his clothes and walk around naked for three years, and he obeyed God’s command. (Isaiah 20:2-4) Then, later, he was killed by his own people. The prophet Jeremiah was also killed in Egypt. Indeed, all these servants of God worked hard to do God’s work, obeying God absolutely, doing whatever God asked them to do, sacrificing everything for God’s purpose, and denying themselves completely.

 

But their hard labor cannot be paid off unless the harvest workers go out and reap the harvest. Jesus says, “Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.” After having done the hard work, the sowers in heaven watch how the reapers are doing. They wait anxiously for the reapers to go out and harvest the crops for eternal life, and when they see souls saved, they are happy and joyful together with the reapers. Only when the disciples go out and reap the harvest, will these servants who have done the hard work, be glad together with the reapers. Jesus wants his disciples to be the reapers. Even though their job of harvesting is like reaping the benefits of others’ hard labor compared to the job of sowing, the disciples are very important in God’s salvation work. Only with them, God’s salvation work can be completed. They are real VIPs of VIPs and even now they receive their wages. We are the reapers, sent to reap the souls for eternal life, sent to reap the benefits of the hard labor of the sowers. We must go to the harvest fields and reap them for eternal life. This is what God wants us to do. Jesus sends us today to all the campuses in California, in America and in the world. Go out, and reap the harvest for eternal life.

 

Look at verses 39 through 42. This passage is the conclusion of Jesus’ Samaritan ministry. Because of the woman’s testimony, many people in the town believed in Jesus. It is amazing that though the Samaritans once despised the woman, now when she talked about Jesus, the Samaritans believed in Him through her testimony. When the Samaritans came to Jesus, they urged Him to stay with them. So Jesus stayed two days and taught them the word of God, and because of His words, many more became believers. Then, they said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” Today, we heard Jesus’ command, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” El Camino College is ripe for harvest. CSUDH is ripe for harvest. USC is ripe for harvest. CSULB is ripe for Harvest. California is ripe for Harvest. All college campuses are ripe for harvest.  America is ripe for harvest. Amen. Now is the time for us to go and harvest the crop for eternal life. Now is the time for us to save many souls and bring them to the kingdom of God. Even now the reaper draws his wages; even now he harvests the crop for eternal life. Let’s open our eyes and accept this vision of God into our hearts. Let’s live as harvest workers for God and for dying souls on our campuses.

 

       I am very thankful for the passage. This passage has caused me to recognize the beauty of my mission field. Twice a week I go to the campus from a long day of working on dirty cars. The desire to rest at home is more appealing than going to campus to evangelize students. I even wanted to make studying for my ASE certification a priority over campus mission. I had developed a “been there, done that, got a t-shirt” mentality about campus mission. But then I thought I always am going to have an excuse not to evangelize. Today my excuse is about building myself in my career. Then after that, there will be some other excuse. So, I resolved to use at least two days to go to campus anyway. When I decided to go to campus to fish God had opened my eyes to understand that I am frustrating the work of Satan. Now that I was on the campus, I am stopping busy college students to consider God, to take the time out of their day to talk with me about God. God taught me that I am fighting evil when I simply fished on the campus, and convinced student to have bible study with me. Amazingly, I did not feel tired from a long day of working on cars. I felt like I had new legs or new energy to fish on the campus. Sometimes the desire to fish more than one student at a time came to me like a sudden rush of wind. I felt like I turned into a giant, the rejections of students became like bullets that bounced off me. Although I did not find new students on the campus, I was certain that there were students who wanted to know the truth. There have been repeated times while fishing that I did not get tired or think about food. In fact, I was having a good time looking for students to teach the Bible. It seems that I have an inconvenient time to fish in the evenings, where very few students are on campus and wanting to go home. Actually, I have the best time to fish because students are leaving the campus with my bible study invitation resonating in their minds and my discussion with them about God. I go home with satisfaction that I spent time doing what is worthwhile. El Camino College is ripe for harvest. I am living in a time where I am working to gather the harvest. This is my time to reap the harvest.

 

       God has made me a reaper to harvest the crops and be co-workers with the sower. God has made me an important figure to serve the mission work that I am on. I am a reaper to harvest the crops. My eyes are opened to the spiritual reality of what needs to be done in my generation. I have the best job there is—a Bible teacher and a shepherd for college students. Living for the completion of saving lost souls is my food that the world cannot know and cannot take away. I pray that all God’s servants want more of this real food, and I pray that many harvest workers would rise from among college students.

 

One Word: They Are Ripe For Harvest!

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