Gleanings from John–God and Man Works

So in the warm embers of John 5 and 9, we might be able to come up with at least one question. In John chapter 5 the healed man was told to sin no more whereas the man in John chapter 9 was last seen worshipping the Lord as Christ. The lesson is that God does the work, the sinner must repent and it must result in sinning no more and worshipping God (we?re using these things as illustrations of course).

As a Christian of X-many years I may find myself casually saying ?Praise the Lord I am saved? and go on my way worshipping God every first day of the week?and that?s it. Is that what the Lord wants? Is that the extent of his victory and healing? We can walk, we can see and we worship the Lord, amen?

Thank God that He is a God of immense strategies because sometimes we can?t see further than the end of the week or the end of the day. God can strategically work with an event to make it ripple out with some tangible results and perhaps if we can study some events in John we may be able to answer our question.

Let?s take the first major confrontation in the temple (John 2:13). Jesus makes his way ?up to Jerusalem? for a feast of the Jews, the Passover. Arriving at the temple He takes a whip and turns the tables of the moneychangers, zealously proclaiming that they have made the House of God a House of Merchandise. Immediately the Jews questioned His authority of doing this and what signs was he willing to show of His authority.

His answer was enigmatic, yet remembered by His disciples sometime after His resurrection. ?Destroy this temple and I will build it up again in three days? and the text says that this He spoke of His body?but they didn?t understand Him. These words struck the disciples remembrance after Christ?s resurrection.

This entire incident resulted in a certain Pharisee named Nicodemus, coming by night, knocking softly on the door and entering in to have his theologian thinking thumped by the living God. The incident attracted this man, an enemy of Christ as it were, and in that passage of John 3 we have some of the most memorable passages in scripture?the very Rites of Passage for the Kingdom of God!

In light of this Christ also found it necessary to head north going through Samaria (4:4) where he winds up getting into another theological discussion with a Samaritan woman. The event culminated with His personal revelation to the woman and crowds of bobbing and swaying heads cresting the hill as slack-jawed disciples realize what their master was actually up to. As they approach Christ explains to His disciples that he wishes them to reap what they have not sowed and to labor in the field which has been labored in by another.

Many were saved and two days later Christ went back to Galilee.

One seemingly small event based on Christ?s zeal, rippled out tremendously. What of the major event of based on Christ?s obedience (Phil 2:8)?the death of Christ on the cross and subsequent resurrection (because the Christ had to be raised from the dead?John 20:9). Nicodemus was seen coming out again?this time during the day (Jn 19:39). After this the book of Acts overflows with believers, men and women, working in the field, harvesting the tremendous crop?but not alone!

We might see the Father drawing men, presenting the attractive Gospel of Christ (Jn 6:44). Perhaps we may even see Christ drawing all men to Himself (Jn 12:32). In Acts we see the Holy Spirit at work, with great signs and wonders, creating public advertisements to have men come to the Cross?all at the hands of the believers doing the work.

Paul gives an illustration in the book of 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 of a couple of gardeners. One gardener, himself, planted the seed. A second gardener watered the seed but neither of these two gardeners could lay claim to the crops nor could the crops thank one or the other respective gardener. God gave the increase says Paul?yet He used men to do that labor! In that same passage, Paul goes onto say that we are fellow workers with God (1 Cor 3:9)!

Can you imagine it?God in His infinite strategies has figured a way so that men can partake in the reaping of the harvest which they have not sowed? A way that men can be productive in doing what He wishes to accomplish in his rescue mission among men!

Paul speaking to the Ephesians (Eph 4) explains that Christ has led captivity captive?he came down, did the work and ascended up on high and at that point He gave gifts to men. Some apostles, some pastors, some teachers some evangelists but all taking part in the tremendous harvest that the Lord has out there. The heads are bopping and the ear of the corn can be seen, swaying to and fro.

Our calling then is not to be idle with what the Lord has accomplished nor to only worship Him (although that is the core response of a believer) but to exemplify a life of worship to Him. The very goal of the call is then to do the work by laying our own selves on the altar of God as a living sacrifice and to be fully given over to Him to accomplish His labors. What a glorious victory! What tremendous strategy! What countless honor!


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