The Woman at the Well to John's Imprisonment
The Bride and the BridegroomEdit
25'Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 27John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 28Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30He must increase, but I must decrease. 31He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
Some interesting words here from John. Jesus' disciples had started immersing folks around Aenon, then we see this scene. John refers to Christ as the bridegroom for the first time chronologically. The bride, of course, is the church, though that is not given in this context. We see these symbols of bride and bridegroom again in Revelation throughout. The last verse is the most apocalyptic, though. "He that is of the earth is earthly..." John and Jesus are both human, both physical beings, both Jews even. So what could this phrase mean? John's message was limited to the Jewish nation, to repent in the last days or face the final judgment of God against them. His ministry was to the earth, the common people of the Jewish nation.
Jesus, as the Christ (annointed) prince, the one who would be the antitypical David-King (Acts 2:25-36) is of heaven and above all, that is all nations, not just the Jews. He is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed.
The Harvest was ReadyEdit
27'And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
This is a somewhat subtle passage with regard to the apocalyptic language. The disciples had headed into town to buy food and Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. After their conversation about living water (see my addendum on the What is Grace? post), the disciples return with the food. When the woman leaves, they give Christ the food, but he mentions meat they did not understand. That meat was for Jesus to finish the work God. But then Jesus immediately goes into talking about the harvest metaphor. (It's used in several places in the gospel accounts.) The harvest is a specific reference to converting people to Christ. I believe it is specifically about converting Jews given the whole message with regard to the harvest. I shall endeavor to prove this over the course of this series of posts on the gospel accounts.
The language here is very conclusive:
- 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. - The harvest in imminent, not down the road. The disciples were able to see it in their time.
- 38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. - while there are other things that can be said about this passage, I'm focusing on the things related to the imminent nature. Jesus, speaking specifically to His disciples, says He sent them to reap. Again, this is imminent, even current. The reference to other men who labored would be the OT prophets, preachers, those who had been sent to the Jews including and culminating in John the Immerser.
The Kingdom of Heaven is ImminentEdit
12'Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Briefly here we see that Isaiah prophesied of Jesus (Isaiah 9) and that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. It is a direct reference to the Jews of that day who saw Jesus, the great light. It is in Isaiah 9 that Isaiah writes: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." [sarcasm]It is at this time that Jesus begins to preach that the kingdom of heaven was 2000 years down the road.[/sarcasm] Sorry, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, imminent. The kingdom of heaven is the church.
Mark 1:14,15 Edit
14'Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
In parallel to Matthew 4 above, Mark writes that Jesus preached "The time is fulfilled..." What time? The time of the end, the last days, the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
In Truth and Love.