A Limited View of the Harvest

A Limited View of the Harvest

When Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” (John 4:35), His disciples really had trouble understanding what was being said. They were in Samaria and the apostles, because of their Jewish background, had never seen that Samaritans had souls. Jews avoided, as much as they could, any contact with this mixed race in Samaria. Jesus’ use of the word “already” shows that He saw Samaria as a field ready to be reaped for God.

These apostles had to be shocked at the words of Jesus, but in just a few months they saw what Jesus saw.  They saw souls, even those in Samaria. Just before His ascension, Jesus gave His plan to evangelize the world using these words: “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It appeared that some heard these words this time and understood them.

The church began in Jerusalem and when persecution arose, the Bible shows that they went to Samaria. When the Samaritans believed and obeyed the gospel, these apostles then knew His plan that involved from Jerusalem to Samaria. The apostles were part of the beginning of the church and before them were the white fields of Samaria.  What happened? Luke describes the response using the word “multitudes.” The apostles seemed to have understood His great commission. They sent Peter and John to them that they might lay hands on these new Christians so that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

However, their view of white fields was limited. Some of those early Christians went to Antioch in Syria, and some Greeks, likely proselytes, became Christians (Acts 11:19-20). But most in the church still did not see the white fields. It is true that Peter said on Pentecost that the promise of the Spirit would be given to as many as the Lord called, but he failed to see that it included those who were far off—the Gentiles.

It was the miracle of the Spirit coming on the household of Cornelius that started opening their eyes. God had shown that He accepted any person in every nation who feared God and did His will (Acts 10:34-35). The great commission of Jesus was to preach to every creature. The church was so slow in seeing this.

What is the application of what we have just said? It is for each of us to lift up our eyes. We have no right to pre-judge others before we teach them! We are now focusing on mission work here at Palm Beach Lakes.  Remember that world evangelism begins at your front door and goes around the world. Is it possible that we are not seeing our white fields? As you walk away from the church building, you are in His mission field!

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