Jesus would have flunked freshman creative writing; He mixed metaphors – a serious no-no. Beseiged by great crowds, Jesus compassionately said they seemed like “sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). But then He switched metaphors:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:37-38
Why do you suppose He switched from the image of leading sheep to harvesting wheat? The sheep metaphor “works” because of how helpless sheep are without a good shepherd to show them the way. But what does a wheat harvest illustrate? Here’s some things He may have had in mind:
- The wheat belongs to the Farmer, the “Lord of the Harvest.”
- Wheat cannot harvest itself.
- There is a very limited window of opportunity during which wheat can be harvested.
- Wheat is grown for the purpose of being harvested. Until it is harvested and transformed into bread, wheat has not reached its full potential, has not accomplished its purpose. We have not become “complete” until we have the Holy Spirit living in us.
- (This is my favorite…) When you harvest wheat, you cut it loose from its attachment to the earth, gather it together and give it to the “Farmer.” When we recognize that Jesus is God and trust Him fully, we are “harvested.” We are “cut loose” from our earthly attachments and given a new citizenship in Heaven. Jesus gives us to the Father, Who transforms us by the leavening of His Holy Spirit.
Maybe you can think of other parallels between a harvest of wheat and our need for salvation. In any case, probably Jesus shouldn’t flunk.