Thursday, June 09, 2011

Matthew 13:3-23


The shift from miracles to parables all revolves around the happenings of chapter 12-the miracle of healing the deaf mute man and the response to it. The response was to say that Jesus' works were driven by the Devil and therefore to be rejected. Jesus came to present Himself as the King and to offer the promised Kingdom to the Jewish people. Now, they reject the King and the Kingdom offer and Jesus, in turn, pulls back the offer.

Now, the question in the minds of the disciples was "What will happen to the Kingdom now?" And Jesus answers this question about what the Kingdom is going to look like since the rejection by the use of 7 parables. I think this is one of the most remarkable sections of Scripture and most instructive for us today as we seek to follow King Jesus and function in the Kingdom. Through the study of these 7 parables we will discover that there is only one parable that indicates what we must do in the Kingdom and the rest are basically descriptive of the nature of the Kingdom. Jesus begins with the parable of the sower.

1-THE SOWER-(Invitation) 3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ``Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some, seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 ``Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 ``But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 ``Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 ``And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some, a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 ``He who has ears, let him hear.''

Jesus illustrates receptivity (ears to hear) by the use of four soils-by the side of the road, the rocky places, among the thorns and the good soil. These represent what kind of receptivity you might expect as you participate in the sowing of the seed of the Gospel and these soils also illustrate the various degrees of receptivity we each experience in our own lives.

Now note the interpretation of these soils. (1) Beside the road-no root-no shoot-no fruit. 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 the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

(2) Rocky places-no root-shoot-no fruit. 20 ``The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away."

(3) Among the thorns-root-shoot-no fruit. 22 ``And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."

(4) Good soil-root-shoot-fruit. 23 ``And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some, a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.'' NOTE that the entire goal has to do with fruitfulness.

Can you remember the times you were one or more of these soils over your life? Which soil are you now? Beside the road? In rocky places? In the thorns? Or, good soil?