Meaning of "Plentiful" Harvest

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mgkortus

Puritan Board Freshman
In both Matthew 9 and Luke 10, Jesus indicates that the harvest is plentiful.

What does the word plenteous refer to?

Is the reference numerical? Or does it rather refer to the great need the sheep, who are faint and scattered, have for the preaching of the gospel?
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I've always thought it to be the number of people who need to hear the gospel, due to the reference to a great crowd in Matthew and the order to go into every town in Luke. So a numerical reference. What might be the argument for understanding it differently?
 

mgkortus

Puritan Board Freshman
I've always thought it to be the number of people who need to hear the gospel, due to the reference to a great crowd in Matthew and the order to go into every town in Luke. So a numerical reference. What might be the argument for understanding it differently?

In Matthew 9:36, the multitude is compared to sheep who fainted and were scattered abroad. It is as though the hills are filled with isolated and exhausted sheep. This state of the sheep is due to sin. The sheep are in a life and death struggle with, and yet the religious leaders of the day only led them further astray. For they taught that the way of peace was through works and keeping the law. Thus, the people were left to think that if they just tried a little harder or did a little better, they would be gathered in (instead of scattered) and have rest (instead of fainting).

Due to this, the sheep needed to hear the gospel of forgiveness. There is a need for laborers to preach the gospel, that Jesus Christ is the solution for all sin. Thus, the plentiful harvest refers to the great need the church has for the preaching of the gospel.

I always thought the reference was numerical until I listened to a sermon on the text that explained the text this way. Now I am unsure.
 

brendanchatt

Puritan Board Freshman
As for the word, harvest spoils if it is not gathered. If the laborers are too few, it cannot all be gathered.

Brendan
OPC
Florida
 
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