One thing that Jesus taught on quite a bit was the harvest of people for God. This subject was not uniquely Jesus’, nor was the metaphor of a harvest. Many rabbis of the time used this language to teach their disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven. The harvest in rabbinic literature is about gathering men and women to be followers of God’s rule now, in this life, so that they may inherit eternal life in the World to Come. So the metaphor of the harvest was used by rabbis to discuss eternal life. You see this in Jesus’ teachings, for instance, in Matthew 13:24-30 where the harvest of wheat are those who will be saved.
To shed some light on this subject from Second Temple Judaism, let’s explore a quote from a famous rabbi that I didn’t have time to cover in my summer class, Rabbi Tarfon, as he teaches about the harvest of people, and how our time is short. But, like a Jewish rabbi, he’s bluntly honest about the situation at hand. Let’s dig in. Continue reading