Sunday, October 28, 2007

One sows and another reaps

Pastor Chris’ sermon today is as he termed it himself, simple – crucial nonetheless. From John 4, he spoke on how Jesus had crossed all barriers when he talked to the Samaritan woman about eternal life. He broke through cultural barriers, gender issues, social blockages and religious differences, and come through to show and speak to her the truth.

“One sows and another reaps” (John 4:37) – Jesus prepares us for the job by reminding us that we should not be discouraged when the people whom we tell about Jesus brush us off or even shove us aside, the seed is sown. And that we should not be surprised or shocked when they come to believe when we haven’t even begun, for it has ripen.

Our job is only to speak and show his goodness and grace.

I looked at John 4 and found it quite an amazing chapter. It does look like a sandwich technique. where the center portion emphasises the message: that the good news has to be told to anyone, at anytime, at any place.

(a) 4:1-26 Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
Jesus was tired and sat by a well in a town in Samaria in the hot afternoon when a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Don't forget that before he came to speak to the Samaritan woman, John recorded in chapter 3 that he was speaking to Nicodemus, an absolute antipole to the Samaritan woman. One at the eminence of orthodox Judaism and the other utter worthlessness in the eyes of the Jews. It doesn't matter - eternal life is for all who wants it. The woman could have waited until sundown to draw water but she needed to avoid other women, and came in the afternoon anyway. She was a sexual sinner, she has much to hide, but she found Jesus. Jesus first asked her for water, which she found so unusual as Jews would never drink from Samaritan's vessels. Jesus told her about living water, and in the course of conversation revealed to her that he is the Messiah.

(b) 4:27-38 Jesus and the disciples
The disciples returned with food and asked Jesus to eat. He naturally begun talking about his food being doing the will of the Father and to accomplish his work. Jesus' satisfaction is the will of God - the cross: mission and devotion. Then he tells his disciples that it is their work to reap.

(a) 4:39-42 The Samaritan woman and her people
The woman who has much to hide, who did not want to be out in the open, testified and spread the word of Christ. The people believed, went to look for Jesus and invited him to stay. Jesus stayed for two days and many more believed.

To me, it is rather amazing that the woman who is not a respectable person even in her own circle talks about Christ and the people believed her. It is not her work, it is the Spirit's. It still comes back to the same thing: it is not about me, not about you, not about us, but Christ. We are but vessels and in whatever shape we are, God still uses us, like how Christ is willing to use the vessel of the Samaritan woman.

And our job is only to speak and show his goodness and grace. He will do the rest. It does not matter if we are scorned or pushed aside, the seed is sown. We need not be surprised if we reap because God has done the work through others. And never ever be proud if they believe, because it is not about us. It is Christ.


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