Cover to Cover
In verses 31-38, Jesus is speaking along the lines of “doing the will of Him who sent Me.” In the same way we rely on food to satisfy a natural appetite, reliant faith that goes to the point of taking action will satisfy a spiritual appetite. Christ’s love for His Father God caused Him a deep hunger to fulfill His assignment on Earth. True life is knowing God through experiential and revelatory knowledge. I personally have seen people receive or witness miracles, but didn’t surrender their life to Christ. I have known people to receive and witness miracles in a church, but then leave that church because they didn’t get a position they wanted. Miracles attract people to God for a moment, but only genuine faith will draw people to God for a lifetime.
Then Jesus tells His followers that it’s time to go reach people. Their hearts are ready to receive. He uses the illustration of a ripened harvest.
Then Jesus speaks of harvesters and sowers as separate groups. Some have already sown in the hearts of people, and now Jesus and His disciples are going out with a purpose to reap. Their ability to reap the harvest was made possible by others who had sown before them. In the kingdom of God, we work together. Some plant, some water, and some harvest. God is the One who gives the increase and gets the glory. Harvesters enter into the labor of the sower, working together with others. They often reap what someone else has sown – not for their glory; It’s for God’s kingdom.
In verse 48, Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” How else would someone believe in something if they didn’t see it? They would believe because in their HEART they have a KNOWING that something is so. These people were not believing because of what their hearts were telling them, but because of what their eyes were telling them. Believing Jesus is the Christ based on a miracle is one thing; but to really know Him, we have to surrender to Him as our savior and loving authority. A miracle will attract people for a moment, but only true faith will draw people to Christ for a lifetime.
2 Kings 6-8
Elisha is used by the Lord in performing miracles through that double anointing. In chapter 6 the ax head floats, going against nature and gravity.
In 2 Kings 6, we read about God’s supernatural help to defeat Syrian armies. We read about the angels that were there, ready to act on Elisha’s word. In verse 18, it says, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” God struck them with blindness ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF ELISHA. As a human being on the earth, when we speak according to God’s purpose, God and all of heaven back us up. The purpose isn’t so we get our way, but so that GOD GETS HIS WAY. We have a part to play.
We also read about Ben-Hadad, one of three Syrian men named with the same name that the Lord used to drive Israel to Himself (1 Kings 15:18 Ben Hadad, 20:1 Ben Hadad II, 2 Kings 13:24 a third one). Here the famine in Israel was so bad that they resorted to cannibalism, even of their own children.
In chapter 7, the Syrians flee.
In chapter 8, the king restores the Shunammite’s land, the woman who had cared for Elisha. The prophet told the woman that the land would suffer famine for seven years.
Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, inquires of the prophet if he would die or not. Elisha knew that he would, but he did not reveal it. Then Elisha went into a stare. We call this an open vision, unlike a trance, where the person is aware of their surroundings. In this situation, God showed Elisha that the next leader would do terrible things. God knew ahead of time what things would be done. This doesn’t mean that Hazael couldn’t have changed his mind. We aren’t robots just living out a predestination. We see multiple times when God changed His mind or a person relented of what they were going to do.
In verses 16-24 we read about Jehoram reigning in Judah. He was an evil king, but again in verse 18, we see that God would not destroy Judah for the sake of his covenant with David, the bloodline of Jesus.