Jesus told stories to teach lessons. In the crowd were Pharisees who stood with arms crossed, waiting for Him to make a mistake. There were also His disciples, eager to learn. And a whole lot of people were also there to listen and learn. Who was this teacher?
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.'” (Matthew 13)
Jesus on the water, people on the sand. He bridges the gap with a story. A story that reminds me growing up with corn in the garden. And Mom spending hours pinning up netting over the corn rows so that the crows would not eat them!
Here is Jesus’ explanation, after His reminder that these were truths that people had wanted to understand for years! What is He trying to teach?
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
If seeds fall on our concrete pad, there is no hope for it. Can a heart be that hard? It is hard to imagine. And it is a battle against Satan for hearts.
If seeds were planted in our gravel patch, it would be hard for them to last. How much responsibility should be given to new believers? How can they be discipled and helped to grow? We cannot shield people from persecution, but we can point them to Jesus.
If the seed fell on “pigweed hill” it would suffocate! And I can see this happening in the American church – there are so many distractions and pretty things to do and buy. But what will last?
And if a seed is planted in our garden, it grows to provide food for us, our friends. How many hearts can one person touch? How deeply can God penetrate our lives to spread love to people? We cannot know His plans, His outreach, or the impact that one interaction can have. So how will we live?
Coming tomorrow: I want to explore this question – What from this example does Jesus hope for us to use for other parables? How can we properly interpret His other stories?
God, thank You for Your love to reach out to people and offer Your truth, even if You know they will reject it. God, it makes me examine my heart. How am I following You? How fertile is the soil of my heart? God, please let this parable teach me to listen, to trust You who bring life, and see how I can spread that to others. Amen.