SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Wednesday November 6, 1996

"So Send I You"
(John 20:21)

Yesterday we learned that the method of evangelization used in the Old Testament was "centripetal."  People from other nations were to go to Jerusalem to learn about God.

How did the system change in the New Testament?   John 20:21.

Jesus advocated a "sending" message.  His mandate to the disciples was, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21, NIV).  This system is known as "centrifugal."  It emanates from a center.  It no longer only draws people in, but spreads them out to find other people to bring in.  "The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ's kingdom.  The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving all the invitation of mercy.  They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message."--The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.

Study John 4:35-38.  What did Jesus "see" that the disciples did not "see"?    How urgent is soul winning?

Two major events mark the agricultural year in Palestine-the "early" and the "latter" rain.  The early rain germinates the seed, and the latter rain ripens the harvest.  In John 4, Jesus pointed out to the disciples that though they knew how to calculate correctly the time between the two rains ("Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? "-- John 4:35, NIV), they overlooked the fact that through Jesus' eyes the fields were already ripe for the harvest, even before the "latter rain"!

In other words, many people everywhere are waiting for the good news, as was the Samaritan woman whom Jesus found at Jacob's well.  The problem is the lack of harvesters to gather the people!

The disciples had no church-growth eyes.  They did not see any Samaritans ready to harvest.  But Jesus saw whole villages of them and vast populations beyond Samaria.  "The gospel invitation is not to be narrowed down, and presented only to a select few, who, we suppose, will do us honor if they accept it. The message is to be given to all."--The Desire of Ages, p. 194.

Is your church-growth vision 20/20? Look around you!  People just waiting to be "seen" also fill the city, town, or village where you live!