Good Morning!I think I left off the last paragraph yesterday, so here it is along with today’s:
And Jesus says, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.” We all have ears – most of us can hear with them, but Jesus is speaking of something much deeper; he is speaking of listening beyond the sound, listening to meaning, hearing with our hearts. Let us listen to his words!
The Purpose of the Parables
10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that
“they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” ’
13 And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’
When the crowd had gone, and Jesus was with his closer disciples – “the twelve” and “those who were around him” along with them – asked him to explain the parable. Jesus quotes Isaiah 6, saying that although the people have ears to hear they do not understand – When God called Isaiah, he said that the people had ears but would not hear. Jesus does not speak in parables “so that” the people will not hear, but because the people will not hear. He uses the parable to make concepts simpler and to relate them to everyday life.
Jesus explains the parable: what he does not say is that he is the initial sower, but the disciples who follow him must also sow – you and I must also sow, for if the “crop” is not renewed each year, the grain, the message, will die out. And so – the farmer sows the seed, but some hearers are the hard ground and “satan”, or the evil in their hearts, grabs the seed before it scarcely hits the ground. Some hearers are rocky ground – they receive the message joyfully, but it is a shallow faith, and they quickly drift away when troubles come; those among the thorns hear the message and receive it – but they are so wrapped up in the troubles of the world, and the lure of wealth, that their faith is quickly choked out. But then there are those who are the soil prepared to receive the seed of the message – in them faith grows, and they bear fruit, thirty, sixty, or one-hundred-fold!
I am struck with a new thought today – even Jesus did not reach everyone to whom he spoke the word! And so, today, we speak to others – to our neighbors and friends – I speak to a congregation. Some are ready to receive the message, to see God’s love, and others are not! But we continue to sow the seed, in faith. And God will prepare some to be the soil that receives it, and produces fruit – and through them, the faith will live.