LEARNING FROM THE MASTER HARVESTER
The life and experiences of Jesus serve as a vast reservoir of help and strength to the harvester as we constantly face new situations and problems.
No set of rules will meet all conditions.
No one set of principles will solve all problems found in the task before us.
One analysis will not reveal all the characteristics of Jesus' approach or all the principles He employed.
A constant and repeated review of Jesus' methods is necessary if you hope to follow in His steps.
In this study we will notice some of the characteristics of Jesus' approach and review some of the principles He employed.
1. CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS' APPROACH
NOTE: Some will feel, since Jesus was Divine, men cannot hope to follow in His footsteps. It must also be remembered that Jesus was Human. There was no temptation common to man that He did not encounter, even the temptation not to witness.
Jesus loved sinners. His was a ministry of everlasting love. The harvester must love as Jesus loved.
Jesus was tender. When He was reviled, He reviled not back. To those who crucified Him, He said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Stephen's attitude unquestionably influenced Paul's conversion as he witnessed Stephen's stoning.
Jesus thought of others. One who is selfish will never be a harvester. Those who follow Jesus must "deny himself."
Jesus was led by the Spirit. This is one of the outstanding characteristics of Jesus' approach.
He was "driven by the Spirit into the wilderness."
He "must needs go through Samaria." This was not the normal road to take.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me."
Even at the cross He was led of the
Spirit, where, "Through the Eternal Spirit He offered Himself without spot
There were many streets down which Jesus could have walked. There were many wells on which He could have sat. There were many ships into which He could have gone. But He always walked the right street, sat on the right well, and went into the right ship. Always the right place at the right time, just where He was needed.
Jesus sought men's souls. This was the one purpose of His life. Incarnation for redemption.
The dead could bury their dead.
The rich could view their lands.
The merchant could make his money.
Sabbath ritual and ancient customs could be sidestepped if a person or animal was in need.
Jesus spoke with authority. Whether speaking in love to the most needy sinner, or exposing the evil and hypocrisy of the religious leaders, He spoke with authority.
Sinners were influenced because "He spoke as one having authority."
The harvester must know the truth, know it's power, and speak with authority.
Jesus was natural. There was never a sign of anything unnatural or abnormal in Jesus' approach. He approached all men as they were, on their level.
Jesus used common language. They could understand Him. Vague doctrinal terms were noticeably absent from His speech. They should be absent from ours as well. He used everyday language and that language was direct.
Jesus was prepared at all times. He quoted Scripture. He knew human nature and how to meet it. The harvester’s preparation is a continuous process. A few Bible verses, a few hours spent in study, a few moments spent in prayer are far from being sufficient.
Jesus regarded no case as hopeless. Jesus came to call sinners - ALL SINNERS - to repentance. You must consider every person as a potential follower of Jesus.
2. JESUS INSTRUCTED HIS FOLLOWERS TO WIN MEN
When He sent out The twelve - Matt. 10. The plan was not yet completely revealed.
They were to preach the kingdom of heaven at hand.
Salute whatever house they entered.
They were to go their way if their words were ignored.
They were to "be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Winning men involves a careful, alert and wise approach.
They were to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach them what they should say.
They were warned that they would be misunderstood.
They were not to fear.
They were to give all, "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
When He sent out The Seventy - Luke 10:1-20. There were some additional instructions given, and observation made on this occasion that is vital.
They were to prepare the way for Jesus by going places He was later to visit.
They were to pray for other laborers to be sent into the field.
They were to preach judgment if the inhabitants did not repent.
They were to be personal representatives of Jesus, "He that hears you, hears me, and he that despises you despises me."
The return of the Seventy in joy. Jesus brought their attention to the fact that their supreme joy was still to be found in the fact their names were written in heaven.
When Jesus dealt with an individual:
He used the occasion as a basis for instructing His disciples.
The lessons were not lengthy, nor were many principles included in each lesson. The outstanding point to be learned here is that Jesus emphasized.
When Philip and Andrew brought the group of Greeks to Him John 12:20-36. He reiterated the fact that if He would be lifted up He would draw all men unto himself. "Ye shall be witnesses unto me."
3. THE DISCIPLES FOLLOWED JESUS' EXAMPLE
After Pentecost the disciples followed in Jesus' footsteps in harvesting men.
A real impetus for effective witnessing will be found in the natural desire to tell someone else the "good news."
This same willingness and desire to tell others was evident at Pentecost and all through the development of Apostolic Christianity. Spontaneous witnessing is the method they used and it is the reason for Christianity's growth.
4. THE HARVESTER PRINCIPLES OF JESUS SUMMARIZED AND REVIEWED
There are two important sources of help and information from which the harvester can draw as he gathers men to Jesus.
FIRST: His own experience with Jesus.
SECOND: The experiences of Jesus as He gathered men.
The principles that Jesus used in dealing with individuals while He was on earth and the principles that Jesus used in harvesting should be fixed firmly in our minds to guide us as we too, “Go about our Father's work.”