A World Ripe for Harvest
October 1, 2006 - Jesus’ last words before He ascended to heaven included an awesome promise and a thrilling challenge: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).
by Franklin Graham
Judea and Samaria were within a few days’ walk from Jerusalem and were familiar to Jesus’ followers. Those first-generation evangelists—empowered by the Holy Spirit—made remarkable progress spreading the Gospel around the Mediterranean and onto the European continent.
But to the ends of the earth?
Only in our generation has it become conceivable that Christians could complete the task of reaching “every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9, NIV). When my father began preaching, international travel took weeks aboard steamships. Now, we can communicate instantly almost anywhere in the world. We can reach millions of households at once. Even in countries closed to the overt preaching of the Gospel, God’s truth is being proclaimed in incredibly effective ways.
Jesus told His followers, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35, NIV).
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we are experiencing an unprecedented harvest. Last year 3.4 million people worldwide made decisions for Jesus Christ through our ministries. Since 2003, we have seen more than 6.8 million people make commitments to Christ—more than in our previous 60 years of ministry combined.
Our only boast is in the cross of Christ and the power of the Gospel. Through our broadcasts, Crusades and other evangelistic outreaches, we are “declar[ing] his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3, NIV). We are working strategically to reach multitudes of unbelievers with the Gospel message, while helping to strengthen churches and training believers to share their faith effectively.
Only through the power of the Holy Spirit is this possible. We are indebted to those of you who pray for this organization and stand with us in the task of reaching the world for Jesus Christ. Would you join with us in a prayer from the Apostle Paul? “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored” (2 Thessalonians 3:1, NIV).