The harvest

In spite of Jesus’ attempts to keep his supernatural work under wraps, his fame was spread abroad throughout the countries surrounding Jude’s during his short three-year ministry by those who were healed of their various diseases, disabilities, and demon possessions. It says in Matthew 9:30-31 that on one occasion, after Jesus restored the sight of two blind men, he “straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it,” but, instead these men departed and “spread abroad his fame in all that country.” According to Matthew’s record of Jesus’ ministry, “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). It’s not surprising that Jesus became famous since there were no sickness or disease he couldn’t heal, but that wasn’t the purpose of his ministry. Jesus wanted people to get saved. He wanted them to believe his message about God’s kingdom and receive eternal life.

Jesus referred to the end of the world, or the time when the saved and unsaved would be separated for eternity, as the harvest. Speaking of this, it says in Matthew 9:37-38, “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” The Greek word translated labourers, ergates (er-gat’-ace) means a toiler and is used figuratively to describe someone that teaches God’s word (2040). Referring back to Jesus’ parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8), God’s word is like seed that is scattered throughout a field and lands on different kinds of soil. The seed that lands on good soil brings forth fruit, “some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold” (Matthew 13:8). The connection between the fruit and the labourers is that fruit cannot harvest itself. God’s word needs to be studied and discussed in order for it to become or stay alive within us. It seems as though the harvest could be an ongoing process that continues until we enter into eternity. Otherwise, there would have been no need for labourers when Jesus was still on earth.

One of Jesus’ primary objectives in spreading the gospel was that it taken to the whole world. There seems to be a connection between his message being fully dispersed and the timing of the harvest. In his explanation to his disciples of the parable of the tares of the field (Matthew 13:36), Jesus said, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end this world” (Matthew 13:37-40). The Greek word translated end, sunteleia (soon-tel’-i-ah) means entire completion (4930). When the effect of Jesus’ message (salvation) has spread throughout the entire world, then Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth will be completed and the opportunity for people to be saved will no longer exist, and as Jesus stated, “there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew13:42) by those that rejected him.

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