Thursday, February 9, 2012

John 4:27-38

Just as Jesus makes His declaration to the Samaritan woman, the disciples return. I love how John describes their reaction to finding Jesus at the well with this woman:

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” (John 4:27)

Although none of them dared question openly, apparently they were certainly wondering what in the world Jesus was doing with such a woman. Jesus was going to set them straight!

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” (vs.31-33)

We finally see here the response of the woman to her encounter with Jesus: she left her water jar and ran to tell others about Jesus! Now, don’t you wonder if a few eyebrows didn’t raise when she said this man “told me everything I ever did,”? They surely knew her reputation, but with this declaration, she pretty much is admitting it all openly to these people who had scorned her. They were witnessing an immediate change in this woman who used to go out of her way to avoid their eyes.

Meanwhile, back at the well, the disciples were encouraging Jesus to eat what they had brought back, but He apparently had already eaten! The disciples were confused, not understanding that He was sustained and filled to the brim by doing the Father’s will. And then Jesus addresses their prejudice against the Samaritans. As the people of the town were making their way down the road to see Him for themselves, Jesus points out that these people, despised and rejected by the Jews, were ripe for the picking. They were hungry for and ready to hear the gospel:

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 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. 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. 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.”  (vs.34-38)

Jesus was challenging the disciples and us to open our eyes to see the needy people all around us who are so ready to hear the good news of salvation through Christ. Because we tend to view the world with worldly eyes, we are ignoring the “invisible” people right next to us in our neighborhoods, in our offices, in our classrooms. I know, as a teacher, that all teachers love working with the gifted kids. They are usually excited to learn, motivated to do their best, and they energize your classroom. But truly, they are the easiest ones to work with! It’s the quiet ones, the struggling ones who have no support at home and few friends at school, the ones you don’t even realize are absent until mid-morning, who are the ones who truly need a good teacher to take an interest. Jesus is telling me that these are where the harvest is!

First, let me make it clear that I do not evangelize children in a public school setting. I’m not there to actively witness to children. Their spiritual training is their parents’ responsibility (would somebody please explain that to the parents??). My job, as a Christian in a public school, is to LOVE these kids, do my best to teach them the curriculum, while also instilling a love for learning. I am responsible for doing my job in the best way possible. With that said, this message from Jesus this morning reminds me that it’s my low group - the ones who never do their homework or study for tests, the ones who appear destined to fail in the world’s eyes - these are the harvest!

Who are the “Samaritans” of your personal world? Do you see them through the eyes of the disciples or through the eyes of Jesus? I’ve been challenged here, how about you?


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