December 18 I Sunday
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” —John 4:35
Sandwiched between Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman is a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples. Jesus told His disciples, “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). Jesus was saying to His disciples that the time they were in was not the time of waiting for the harvest, but it was the harvest and the harvest was ready now. In other words, Jesus was implying, “People are ready to receive Me now.”
After the Samaritan woman’s dialogue with Jesus, she went back to town telling people about Jesus and people came out to meet Jesus. As we think of Jesus’s statement with this context in mind, Jesus was literally telling His disciples, “Look at the harvest. Look at the Samaritans who are coming to meet Me. They are ready.”
How did the disciples miss this? To the disciples, Samaritans were people living in a godless place far from God, far from repentance and far from salvation. But it was to these people that Jesus said, “The harvest is ready. The people that you think are far from Me are actually ready to receive Me.” For some of us, there may be people that God has placed in our lives that are ready to receive Jesus; these people that we think are far from God may actually be closer than we think. Below the surface, God can be working in their life in a real way and they are in a place where they are ready to receive Jesus if they were only introduced to Him.
In the late apologist Nabeel Qureshi’s autobiography Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity, he shares his testimony of coming to know Jesus. During the process, there was one question that stumped him: If the Bible is true, if Jesus is indeed the Son of God, if Jesus really is the only way, the truth and the life, then how come the Christians in my life do not love me enough to tell me this truth about how to receive eternal life and how to be saved? From the outside, people probably saw Nabeel as someone who was very devout and committed to his Islamic faith and far from Jesus. But underneath the surface, God was working in his heart and it took believers coming around him, introducing him to Jesus for him to actually begin the process of receiving Christ.
May we look around us and see the readiness of the harvest.
Prayer: Dear Lord God, open my eyes to see the readiness of the harvest around me. May Your Spirit prompt me to share Christ with those whose hearts are ready to receive You into their life. In Jesus’s name, amen!