This parable ultimately lays out the work of the parable. The parable reveals how readily our hearts are to receive God's word. Jesus tells the story but then he actually explains the story. He doesn't always do that. And he only lets the disciples understand this story - which is interesting because it's recorded for us - so it makes clear God's desire for US to also understand the truth Jesus expresses in this story. The average public wouldn't have heard the explanation since the disciples were the ones to ask, "What does this story mean?"
Jesus expresses just how important our ears are... ears take words in and they make their way to our hearts. THEN, what we do with those words (understanding and practice) MATTERS.
The footpath, the hard heart - because of how hard the ground is, the seed lays on top of the ground and the enemy snatches it up.
The rocky soil, the ears hear and get excited, but the second trials come, the temptation to go back to our ways, rather than God's ways - becomes too great and there is loss.
The thorns and weeds... the seed is planted, but because it's among weeds and thorns there is a competition for nutrition. The person who is looking for life won't find it because of their obsession with money and the cares of this life - as long as we think they will nourish us... we will starve. Our time and care is placed on things of this world and the seed does not produce.
The good soil... the heart that is hearing (beyond just listening but understanding), BUT CLINGING TO God's words... over time produces a harvest.
This parable would have frustrated the disciples. In their minds, the kingdom should come in power and outward displays - restoring Israel in power. A story about a kingdom and seeds would have seemed absurd. BUT, the story describes how the Kingdom comes AND how the King of that Kingdom comes. In order for fruit to be produced, the seed has to die so that the germ can grow and produce, that takes time... but it produces more than we could ever expect or ask for.
Where is our heart when it comes to hearing? Are we "leaning in" to hear and understand Jesus' words? Are we hard and disinterested? Are we "emotional" response people - easily excited but anti-commitment? Are we still chasing money and the cares of this world and disregarding the One thing that could truly nourish us? Do we long to be the heart ready to receive, cling to, and produce fruit?
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