Summary of passage: Jesus tells a parable to explain what he means by his food is doing the will of God and finishing his work. Jesus’ disciples will reap the reward of his work: eternal life. The reaper works now for a harvest later when in truth his harvest is now since the work is the reward.
5) The harvest is all of the people the disciples are trying to reach to come to Jesus. The reapers are the workers (disciples) for the harvest (people). The harvest is now, not in 4 months. Wages is the reward (eternal life). Receptive hearts of the Samaritans are the fields and the crop. The sower is Jesus in this case, spreading the gospel to the Samaritan woman who spread it further.
6) Personal Question. My answer: God’s Kingdom is immediate. We can have it now and not spend our entire lives waiting to get to heaven. There is a heaven here on earth: it’s with Jesus as the Holy Spirit inside of us. If we listen close enough, the rewards are endless.
Conclusions: A difficult proverb for us westerners today since most of us have never worked in a field before. This ties in nicely with Lesson 1. It is God’s work and grace, not ours, that we are saved. We do none of the work. It is all God.
End Notes: The common amount of time from sowing the seeds until harvest is about 4 months. The seed has already sprung up in the hearts of the people. Traditionally, “ripe” is translated as “white”. Grain seeds, when ripe, turn from green to a yellow to a white color, which indicates it’s time to harvest.
Scholars use this time frame to date this to the beginning of December since Christ has just come from Passover and flipping over the money lender’s tables.
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 uses a similar field analogy with the emphasis on God making things grow.
Growing together urges unity. All share in the joy of the crop.