Topic: Heart for the Harvest: Jesus Our Perfect Example
Text: Matthew 4:12-16
The Holy Scriptures are replete with examples of several men and women both in the Old as well as the New Testaments who had a heart for the harvest of souls into God’s Kingdom. However, amongst these several examples, there is one Person that is unequalled in His passion, zeal and willingness to sacrifice for the lost. I am talking of the Man, Jesus Christ our Lord. In the passage above, we read of a major decision our Lord Jesus Christ took because of His heart for the harvest. Jesus Christ was originally from Bethlehem which was a small town in Judea in the southern part of Israel. Due to the threats against His life as a child by King Herod, an Angel of the Lord warned Joseph, His earthly father, to take Him and His mother and to flee to Egypt. Upon Herod’s death, Joseph brought the child, Jesus Christ and His mother back to Israel but instead of returning to Judea, he settled in Nazareth of Galilee in order to fulfill all that had been written about Jesus the Messiah long before He was born. (Read Matthew 2:13-23).
In the today’s text, Jesus had spent several years growing up and working as a carpenter in Nazareth, after He had assumed the identity of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, He took a major decision because of His concern for the Unreached. The Bible reports that ‘…leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast…That it might be fulfilled…The people which sat in darkness saw great light.’ My Lord Jesus left family and familiar territory for the unfamiliar in order to reach the lost and in order to rescue those dwelling in spiritual darkness. Because of His heart for the harvest, my Lord Jesus paid a major price.
Having lived His life as a great visual aid and example for us, Jesus now calls each of us to emulate Him. Each of us should be ready where and when necessary to relocate geographically in search of unreached tribes. A genuine heart for the harvest means a genuine commitment to drop all personal ambitions to pursue the salvation and discipleship of ethnic nations. Having a heart for the harvest means we are ready to engage in concerted prayer so that strongholds of sin and unbelief can give way to righteousness and faith. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible said: ‘He shall see the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.
Finally, a heart for the harvest would mean a willingness to employ our financial and material resources towards supporting the missionaries who will go to dwell among the unreached. There is no doubting the fact that both the global and the Nigerian Church have been endowed with much wealth. Unfortunately, less than 5% of our wealth is deployed towards cross-cultural missions in order to reach the dark places of the earth speedily.
This year, more than ever before, may we be endowed with the passion and sacrificial heart of Jesus towards the unreached. Amen.
Pastor Tokunbo Salami
Immediate Past National Chairman, NEMA & National Director, Pleroma Missions