About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Disciples Rejoin Jesus (ch. 4:27-38)


In verse 27, during this conversation with this woman the disciples returned with food.  They saw Jesus talking to this woman and wondered why He would be doing such a thing.  As we have already noted, talking with a Samaritan as well as a Samaritan woman was not a normal thing for a male Jew to do.  Jewish men did not talk to women in public.  Jews never talked with Samaritans.  Jews literally hated Samaritans.


In verses 28 the woman was clearly excited about her talk with Jesus.  She was so excited that she left her water jar at the well and went back to her town and told everyone that she had met a man who told her everything she ever did.  She asked her friends if Jesus could indeed be the Messiah as He claimed to be.  It seems to me that she thought that Jesus was the Messiah but she wondered just how that could be true.  So, in verse 30 the towns people responded by coming out to the well to meet Jesus.


In verse 31 the disciples encouraged Jesus to eat some of the food they had brought from town, but He did not appear to be hungry any longer.  In verse 32 He told them that He had food that they didnít know of.    


In verse 33 the disciples thought that someone had given Jesus food while they were in town and that is why He was no longer hungry, but that wasnít the case.  In verse 34 Jesus told them the food He was talking about was doing the will of Him who sent Him and finishing His work.  The pronoun "Him" clearly refers to God the Father. 


 Jesus' talk to this Samaritan woman must have been exhilarating enough that He no longer felt hungry.  He was doing God's will by talking to this Samaritan woman.  This compensated for any hunger that Jesus once had.  I said earlier that some Bible teachers suggest that the reason why Jesus didn't cross the Jordan River and go on its east side to Galilee was that because He had a divine appointment with this lady.  That might well be the case.  This conversation seems to be important.  It might well have been the first time that Jesus actually conversed with a Samaritan, proclaiming that He was in fact, not only the Jews' Messiah, but the Samaritan Messiah as well.  Many Old Testament passages predict the day when God would restore all the tribes of Israel , even the ones that went astray; even those who became Samaritan by marrying pagan women.     


Jesus says an interesting thing in the sense that He needed to finish His Fatherís work. This means that His Father began this work and He would finish it.  How did God the Father start the work?  I think God began the work at the fall of man. Pronouncing the curse on man, giving them the sacrificial system to find temporary forgiveness; choosing Abraham to be a father of a nation; giving the Law of Moses; sending the prophets; all were the work of God.  Now Jesus would finish this work through His death, resurrection, and ascension.  


Not feeling real hungry was not the only reason for Jesusí response to His disciples.  He uses an analogy to tell the disciples what He meant.  In verse 35 Jesus said that one would normally wait four months after planting seed to harvest their crop.  He then said, but look, the harvest is now.  Then He goes on to say in verse 36 that both the sower and reaper will be glad together.  Jesus is giving us a spiritual education here.  I believe He is saying that the time has now come the both the sower and the reaper will work together.  One sows while the other reaps.  Both sowing and reaping people for Jesus go hand in hand.  They are both done together. 


In another sense Jesus might be saying that the seed of the gospel has already been planted, maybe by John the Baptist and the Old Testament prophets and is now ready to harvest.  Of course, the harvest refers to people finding salvation in Jesus.  People may be thinking of Jesus as their Messiah who would free them from Roman domination but by saying these things Jesus is saying the ministry of Him and His disciples is to free individuals from sin, not Roman domination. 


Whatever you may think of this, the work of sowing and reaping is considered to be food for Jesus.  Yes, Iím sure Jesus ate well.  He didnít starve, but doing the work of His Father was just as important, if not more important, than eating. 


In verse 37 Jesus quotes an old saying.  "One sows and another reaps."  He says that is true saying.  In verse 38 He goes on to say that His disciples would soon reap a harvest that they themselves did not work hard at sowing.  Once again, John the Baptist and the Prophets of old worked hard in sowing the seed of the Word of God, and now the disciples would simply pick the fruit.  And so they did after Pentecost.  It seemed that the pickings were great in those days. 

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