John 4:31-38, 43-54 – Reap the Vote
If Jesus wanted to run for public office or wanted a political overthrow of the Roman government, his tactics would have been vastly different. Jesus’ public approval and desire to garner a vote was non-existent insofar as His desire to complete a mission of saving the world before visibly ruling it.
But as God would have it, he simultaneously rules the world whilst being put to death by the world for the love of the world. It’s one of those mysteries of faith, one of those theological paradoxes that are understood in some place deeper than the human mind.
Yet, when public officials came to Jesus he did not turn them away or write off their public service as unimportant because he recognized that behind a person’s vocation is their humanity and potential for goodness and compassion. In the concluding verses of John chapter 4, we read a short passage about a man who has an ill son. This man not only wanted his son to be healed but he wanted Jesus to stop what he was doing to come and heal his son.
Perhaps, this official thought his status would garner Jesus’ full attention to administer healing to his child. Instead of going, Jesus pauses and makes a statement regarding the people’s belief being tied to signs and wonders. This exposes the officials heart who then begs, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Do you hear the desperation? If not, read it with desperation.
Often desperation for those we really love can overshadow our desperation for ourselves and this kind of desperation especially moves God’s heart. Because it is the type of desperation that laya down our own lives for someone else which Jesus later describes as the greatest form of love.
Jesus responds immediately, “Go; your son will live.” Rather than pleading for Jesus to come with him, Scripture tells us that the man believes the word that Jesus spoke and he went on his way. That step of obedience eventually leads to the officials servants running to him on his way home with the news that his son was recovering.
He inquired when his child began to get better and finds out that it was the same hour when Jesus administered the word. The healing caused the officials whole household to believe. Finally, someone who speaks a few words that come to pass in due time.
See, if Jesus were to run for public office, we could actually count on the words He speaks as being true because His words are always true and they are always faithful and they are always on time. Jesus elected to speak truth as one who sometimes seems to discreetly rule the world, yet awaits the decision of His creation to choose to honor Him as king.
Several verse’s prior to this story Jesus has a conversation with his disciples by Jacob’s well. They try to feed him supposing he was weary and not thinking straight. Jesus responds, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” The disciples are confused about how he got food, but that wasn’t what Jesus was getting at. Instead he gives us insight into the administration. He gives a peak into the relationship of the Trinity and suggests that His life, the abundant life, is bound and energized in doing the will of God the Father.
Then he talks about the relationship with the Word of God and those who labor for the gospel’s sake. Sowing, seeing, and reaping a harvest are all parts of the labor that might be rejoiced in together. Jesus lets the disciples know that they are about to reap the wages of someone else’s work. They see the immediate fruit of that statement when that Samaritan village I wrote about previously comes to faith in Jesus.
But they also are continuing to be schooled in this way of Jesus to be present, to walk in the Spirit of God, and to be readily available to respond to the needs of others. Reaping always happens when something or someone else is ready, not prior. Administrating the good news or administrating anything for that matter follows the same pattern.
A resistant spirit, someone who boasts in self-sufficiency and strength, someone who cannot or will not apologize, someone who just wants to be heard without listening, this person cannot be managed, guided or ministered to. They must always first heed correction, they must humble themselves, and when necessary, they must apologize/seek forgiveness. Those are choices, choices God will not resist. Choices that reveal a ripe harvest. In 2017 America, offering and asking for forgiveness is our greatest gift.