John 4:36
And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) And he that reapeth.—The wages of the reaper is the joy—the greatest that the heart can know—of gathering others, as men gather corn into the garner, into eternal life. The sower is Christ Himself, whose words have been the seed in the woman’s heart, already bringing forth a harvest in those who are coming to Him. The reapers are the disciples. In this harvest day they would learn, from sympathy with the souls of others, the joy of the reaper, and in that joy it was ordained that sower and reaper should rejoice together.

4:27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.He that reapeth - He that gathers the harvest, or he who so preaches that souls are converted to Christ.

Receiveth wages - The laborer in the harvest receives his hire. Jesus says it shall be thus with those who labor in the ministry - he will not suffer them to go unrewarded. See Daniel 12:3; Matthew 19:28.

Gathereth fruit unto life eternal - Converts souls, who shall inherit eternal life. The harvest is not temporary, like gathering grain, but shall result in eternal life.

That both he that soweth ... - It is a united work. It matters little whether we sow the seed or whether we reap the harvest. It is part of the same work, and whatever part we may do, we should rejoice. God gives the increase, while Paul may plant and Apollos water. The teacher in the Sunday school, who sows the seed in early life, shall rejoice with the minister of the gospel who may gather in the harvest, and both join in giving all the praise to God.

36. he that reapeth, &c.—As our Lord could not mean that the reaper only, and not the sower, received "wages," in the sense of personal reward for his work, the "wages" here can be no other than the joy of having such a harvest to gather in—the joy of "gathering fruit unto life eternal."

rejoice together—The blessed issue of the whole ingathering is the interest alike of the sower as of the reaper; it is no more the fruit of the last operation than of the first; and just as there can be no reaping without previous sowing, so have those servants of Christ, to whom is assigned the pleasant task of merely reaping the spiritual harvest, no work to do, and no joy to taste, that has not been prepared to their hand by the toilsome and often thankless work of their predecessors in the field. The joy, therefore, of the great harvest festivity will be the common joy of all who have taken any part in the work from the first operation to the last. (See De 16:11, 14; Ps 126:6; Isa 9:3). What encouragement is here for those "fishers of men" who "have toiled all the night" of their official life, and, to human appearance, "have taken nothing!"

You that are the Lord’s instruments, to reap what the prophets of old, and John Baptist lately, have sown, shall not lose your labour, you shall receive wages; and your wages shall not be small, it shall be no less than eternal life: They that turn man, to righteousness, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever, Daniel 12:3. Thus the prophets, and John the Baptist, who sowed the seed of the gospel, and you that succeed them, and reap the fruit of what they did sow, shall have the same reward in glory and rejoice together. The ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, as Amos speaks, Amos 9:13. This text is of great use to those godly ministers who faithfully sow the seed of the word, but do not in their lifetime see any great effects of it; it may be it comes up when they are in their graves. The reward of a faithful preacher doth not depend upon his success in his labours, but upon his faithful discharge of his work; though one soweth and another reapeth, yet both he that soweth and he that reapeth shall rejoice together. And he that reapeth receiveth wages,.... Angels are sometimes called reapers, and so are ministers of the Gospel here. The works and ministry of the apostles are here expressed by "reaping": for as in reaping, when the corn is ripe, the sickle is put in, and the corn is cut down, and laid to the ground, and then bound in sheaves, and gathered into the barn; so when things are ripe in providence, and God's set time is come to convert any of his people, he makes use of his ministers for the cutting them down, laying low the loftiness and haughtiness of man, stripping him of all his goodliness, and taking him off of a dependence on his own righteousness and works, and for the gathering them into his churches, which is done with a great deal of joy and pleasure: and such as are so employed, and in this way made useful, shall "receive wages", shall not only be taken care of in providence, and have a sufficient and comfortable maintenance, the labourer being worthy of his hire; but shall have pleasure, delight, and satisfaction in their work, that being blessed for the good of souls, and the glory of Christ, and they having the presence God in it; and also shall hereafter receive the crown of righteousness, when they have finished their course, and shall shine like the stars for ever and ever.

And gathereth fruit unto life eternal: by fruit are meant sinners converted and turned from the error of their ways which are the fruit of a Gospel ministry, of the efficacy and power of divine grace accompanying it; see John 15:16; and these are gathered, by the preaching of the Gospel, out from among the rest of mankind, unto Christ, the Shiloh, or peace maker, and into his churches, and remain, abide, and persevere to the end; that grace, which is implanted in their souls, being a well of living water, springing up to everlasting life; so that they are at last gathered into Christ's garner, into heaven, where they shall live with him for ever:

that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, may rejoice together. The sowers are the prophets of the Old Testament, who sowed that seed in the prophecies, which sprung up in Gospel times, and laid the foundation therein of the great success of the apostles of Christ in preaching the word; for they so clearly described the Messiah, and pointed out Christ, his offices, and his work, in so distinct a manner, that when he was come he was readily known, and cheerfully embraced; they greatly facilitated the work of the apostles, who had nothing to do but to preach Christ, as come in the flesh: and hence they reaped and gathered a vast harvest of souls every where. John the Baptist also was one that sowed; he prepared the way of the Lord, and made straight his paths: and our Lord himself was a sower, that went forth to sow, and who sowed good seed in the field; all which succeeded well, and were ripening apace for a general harvest, which began on the day of Pentecost, after our Lord's ascension to heaven. This was in Judea; and in the Gentile world there was a sowing in providence, which contributed to make the work of the disciples more easy there, and to bring on, in time, a large harvest. The books of the Old Testament were translated into the Greek language; and the Jews were scattered in the several parts of the world; and the Greek tongue, in which the New Testament was to be written, was every where generally spoken; and these providences were ripening apace to bring on a great work there. And now, as before observed, the apostles were the reapers; they were remarkably successful in the gathering in of souls, even more than the prophets, than John the Baptist, or Christ himself; never was such a harvest of souls, either in Judea, or in the Gentile world, before or since; of which the conversion of these Samaritans was a pledge or earnest. Now when the whole harvest is gathered in, at the end of the world, all these will rejoice together, the "patriarchs" and prophets, the forerunner of Christ, and Christ himself, and all his apostles and ministers; the different parts they have had in this work all concurring and agreeing together, and issuing in the glory of God, and the good of souls.

{6} And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

(6) The doctrine of the prophets was as it were a sowing time, and the doctrine of the gospel, as the harvest: and there is an excellent agreement between them both, and the ministers of them both.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 4:36. This harvest—how full of recompense for the reapers (i.e. for you, my disciples)! The wages for the reaper’s labour consist in this, that (καὶ explicative) he gathers fruit into life eternal (this is spoken locally, as denoting the granary, as is clear from συνάγει, against Luthardt, who takes εἰς to denote the result); comp. John 4:14, without any figure: “He converts men, and thus secures for them an entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom.” Thereupon, as well the sower (Christ) as the reaper rejoice together, according to God’s ordinance (ἵνα). Chrysostom and many others wrongly take σπείρων to denote the prophets. For ὁμοῦ, with one verb in the singular and two subjects, comp. Hom. Il. . 61: εἰ δὴ ὁμοῦ πόλεμός τε δαμᾷ καὶ λοιμὸς Ἀχαιούς;; Soph. Aj. 1058. Here, however, it certainly signifies the simultaneousness of the joy, not simply joy in common (B. Crusius, Luthardt); for it is the joy of harvest, which the Sower also shares in time of harvest, on account of the blessing with which His toil in sowing is now crowned.John 4:36. καὶ ὁ θερίζων … W. H[51] close John 4:35 with θερισμόν and begin 36 ἤδη ὁ θερίζων. Already, and not after four months waiting, the harvester has his reward and gathers fruit to life eternal. The reaper has not to wait, but even now and in one and the same action finds his reward (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:17) and gathers the great product of this world which nourishes not merely through one winter till next year’s crop is gathered but to life eternal.—ἵνα ὁ σπείρων ὁμοῦ χαίρῃ καὶ ὁ θερίζων, “that sower and reaper may rejoice at one and the same time”. Here among the Samaritans this extraordinary spectacle was seen, Jesus the Sower and the disciples the reapers working almost simultaneously. So quickly had the crop sprung that the reapers trod on the heels of the Sower.

[51] Westcott and Hort.36. unto life eternal] Another small change without reason (comp. John 12:25, John 17:3). Our translators vary between ‘eternal life,’ ‘life eternal,’ ‘everlasting life,’ and ‘life everlasting’ (John 12:50). The Greek is in all cases the same, and should in all cases be translated ‘eternal life.’ See on John 3:16. Here ‘into eternal life’ would perhaps be better: ‘eternal life’ is represented as the granary into which the fruit is gathered, not the future result of the gathering. See on John 4:14. Comp. for similar imagery, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few, &c.’ Matthew 9:37-38.

that both] i.e. In order that both: shewing that this was God’s purpose and intention.

he that soweth] Christ, not the Prophets. The Gospel is not the fruit of which the O.T. is the seed; rather the Gospel is the seed for which the O.T. prepared the ground.

he that reapeth] Christ’s ministers.John 4:36. Καί) and now accordingly. The time of the New Testament is the harvest.—ὁ θερίζων, he who reapeth) The harvest itself follows at a very brief interval the whitening of the fields.—μισθόν, reward [wages]) namely, the fruit itself: great compensation for one’s trouble, great gain: Matthew 18:15, “If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”—λαμβάνει, receiveth) already, at the present time.—καροπόν, fruit) many souls.—ὁ σπείρων, the sower) The sowing in Israel drew after it a harvest in Judea, in Samaria, and over the whole earth.—ὁμοῦ, together) in the same life eternal: not the one without the other: Hebrews 11:40, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”Verse 36. - Then partially dropping, or rather explaining, his metaphorical language, he added, Already he that reapeth receiveth wages; i.e. receiveth from the great Owner of all souls the reward of fellowship with his purpose, and the recompense of entering into the supreme joy of the Lord of the harvest. The disciples might at once enter upon their harvesting. The work was itself "payment," but it has a distinct aim beyond mere μισθός - be who reaps in this harvest of souls is gathering in fruit unto eternal life. The water that Jesus gives, the refreshment of soul be is able to supply, becomes a well, a fountain, a river, an ocean of life, an eternity of blessedness; and now this fruit of souls, this harvest of saved men, is a Divine, eternal treasure, which the reaper houses in the garner of God. The final clause is introduced by ἵνα, which certainly suggests here the "contemplated result" rather than the end of this ingathering. The "end" would be greater and nobler than what is here mentioned; the result is that even the sower and also the reaper may rejoice together. Westcott here says that Christ does not speak of himself as "the Sower," but as "the Lord of the harvest." If it be so, the sowers of whom be thinks are all the preparatory processes, all the prophetic men, all the testifiers to the Light whose testimony was crowned in John, all the way by which Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth have been prepared for the kingdom of the Spirit; and they will all rejoice together with yourselves who now begin your harvest joy. If so, the vista opens first into the long future of Christian enterprise, to be consummated at last in the heavenly world, where parted hands may meet again, and these who have never met before shall "clasp inseparable hands in joy and bliss in overmeasure forever!" All this may be proleptically contained in the words, but the special force of them would be severed from the circumstances which manifestly gave birth to them. These seem to me to be, primarily, Christ's own ministry of sowing on that very day. The reaping of the harvest may begin at once, and so the Sower (the Son of God) and reapers who gather fruit unto life eternal may and will rejoice together.
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