Jesus explains the parable’s meaning. Notice that in these verses Jesus talks to the disciples privately. Jesus is God incarnate, omnipotent, and eternal. It must surely have occurred to him that these twelve men would tell others, who in turn would tell others again, and so on until someone thought to write his words down. Jesus talks to the twelve, and he addresses us too.
So if these are our stories, who are we in this particular story? Are we the soil that sits there, waiting to see what happens? Are we the seeds that simply fall to the ground? Are we the sower?
Notice that the farmer isn’t talking to the ground; he’s scattering seeds. And he scatters indiscriminately. He’s de ned by his own action not by the action of the soil (that which experiences his witness). His witness comes in the form of action, of service. Are we the farmer? Yes, indeed. We scatter gospel seeds wherever we go.
Are we the soil? You bet. The seed falls on us, all of us, all the time. It’s falling on us right now. Our receptivity is key. And we make choices. If we don’t understand, we’re the path. If we don’t have roots, we don’t last. Thorny? As verse 22 reminds us, “The cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.” You get the idea.
We are soil with hearts and brains. Thinking, feeling human beings raised from that same soil, from dust, to become filled with spirit. We can think, we can consider, we can question, we can pray. And through his parables, Jesus calls us to be good soil, to bear fruit and produce. For those of us who hear and understand, the harvest will be bounteous—”in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
God of love and wisdom, may we provide fertile soil for the seeds of the gospel. Amen.
Genesis 25 marks the beginning of the narrative of Jacob’s life. The theme that stands out in starkest relief is the election of Jacob to be the heir to the promise—Jacob, who has no claim to be the heir except that which the grace of God bestows. Psalm 25 re ects a general sense of alienation. Yet the psalmist expresses con dence in following God’s paths and truths. Paul sets out two polarities in Romans 8: those who “live according to the flesh and those who “live according to the Spirit,” a cosmic duality related to the rule of sin and the rule of God. The parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13 is an object lesson in the mysterious grace of God.
• Read Genesis 25:19-34. When in your life have you experienced favoritism from a parent, friend, coworker, or boss that created division?
• Read Psalm 119:105-112. The psalmist promises to follow God’s law every day in every aspect of his life—despite his circumstances. When did you last renew and affirm your commitment to God through daily obedience?
• Read Romans 8:1-11. How have you attempted to fill the “God-shaped” hole in your life?
• Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. What kind of soil are you? How bountiful a harvest do you produce for God?
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