Grace to Help from the Lord of the Harvest
Tonight was a wonderful night of teaching at the Transformation House. I've been leading lessons through John Piper's book The Passion of the Christ that brings to light many reasons given in Scripture for the suffering and death of Jesus. Lesson 27 teaches that Jesus suffered and died to become a sympathetic and helpful priest. The gist of it is that through his life and death he subjected himself to the same weaknesses, sufferings, and temptations that we face daily because we are human. Accordingly, he is able to sympathize with us in our weakness, because he himself suffered when being tempted.
Of course, this isn't just a theological or intellectual exercise. Knowing that Jesus is sympathetic is supposed to give us confidence to approach him in our times of need. What are those? I'd say any time of temptation, conviction, or suffering. Any time we're tempted to look at ourselves in light of God's Word and allow our failures to overshadow God's grace toward those who believe. Knowing that we'll find sympathy with Jesus instead of a rebuke, we are to approach him with confidence for mercy and for grace to help us make the right decisions or persevere through hardship.
He's also not impotent to help us. He himself endured shame and scorn all the way to the cross, and through the greatest moments of temptation he never wavered. He always trusted God, and he offers strength to us through the same Spirit that empowered him to "walk just as he walked." My prayer is that this gospel, this good news, would encourage and enable the men their to continue working out their transformation before the Lord.
Also, there's a very encouraging brother there named Will (who gave me permission to recount this quick story). He was saved while he was in jail, reading the Bible as a skeptic and not understanding what comfort it offered to him. He couldn't believe it when he found out there were men coming to the jails to teach him just that of their own accord. Now through ministry's like ours through our church, he's still taking advantage of laborers going out to spread God's Word and also reap the harvest that God has prepared. God himself has promised there are people who will receive His Word and be changed by it to "bear fruit." This is truly happening in the lives of Will and many other men through places like the Transformation House.
Will shared with me tonight that he believes one of the greatest prayers we're commanded to pray is that "the Lord of the harvest would send out laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2) He marvels at the wisdom and plans of a God who would cause men to freely teach the Bible so that others could come to know God more, and I have to add that I myself am the result of many men and women giving their time and love to teach me the same Word. I'm also humbled by his encouragement and his inclusion of myself and the others from Immanuel in the answer to his prayers. Finally, I'd encourage those of you who believe as I do to consider how you might be joining others in reaping the harvest that God has prepared for us to reap!