Friday, March 26, 2010

Deep Dirt?

The parable of the Sower is certainly one of the best known parables in the Gospels. I would guess that most Christians would include it if asked to list five parables from memory. It's an unusual parable too. Every physical thing in it symbolizes something with spiritual significance. And unlike other parables, it's not really about the Sower, but the soils he sows the seed in. It is full of imagery that every person of Jesus' day would understand because they'd done it and seen it all their lives. The four soils represent four different ways the Word of God is received by people, so it is Jesus' explanation for why people respond to His message they way they do. The most amazing thing is its timelessness. The reasons why the Seed doesn't take root and grow in the lives of many people are the same today as then. Maybe that is why Jesus questioned and warned his apostles when they asked him to explain it to them. Remember what He said? "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" (Mark 4:13) Ouch!
Isn't He saying that this parable represents the essence of God's plan for redeeming man? All God can do is put His offer out there and make His love known to us, but it is up to the individual to take that seed into their heart. This parable is showing us the preeminence of the heart in having a relationship with God. The condition of the heart transcends any external actions of the body. However, when the word is heard, received, and taking root in the heart, it produces crops that can only come from God's Word. The heart that truly seeks God is what He is looking for. Like Jesus said, if we don't understand that, how can we understand anything He told us?
(FYI: My favorite phrase in the parable is found in Mark 4:6, "...they withered because they had no root." - that'll preach!)


Deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah said...

Can you tell I had issues commenting? Oh well, at least I told my joke two different ways!

Anonymous said...

Mike, I SO loved your lesson on Sunday. Your illustration really brought the message home for me. This is a lesson I would LOVE to have on DVD to share with my family. Love Renita