The Sower - Part 2

 

The Example of Israel

In Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 6:8-10, which describes how the Israelites rejected Jesus because they hardened their hearts and closed their eyes to following God.

 

God charged Israel with being persistently stubborn and rebellious, and historically unfaithful to Him by following their own selfish desires and pleasures (Jeremiah 6:10, 7:23-28, 25:4-7).

 

Their sinful desires blinded them to the message of God, believing their desires would bring happiness but resulted in destruction and exile, and eventually rejection of their long awaited and promised Messiah (Deuteronomy 31:16-22).

 

The same situation applies to the world today. People reject the truth of God in Christ, and are blinded and deceived into following their sinful desires and pleasures. Which lead away from a personal relationship with Jesus and eventually eternal separation from God.

 

It is horrible to be excluded from the life of God because of our own ignorance. This is why there is such a strong emphasis on the responsibility to pay attention and listen intently to the word of God in Christ.

 

It is the most serious choice we will ever make in our life and has the highest eternal consequences.

 

The Parable of the Sower

The parable of the sower teaches how the good news of Jesus is the word of God and how God works salvation through His word for those who accept and trust in Jesus. The emphasis is on the responsibility to make the effort to understand and respond to Jesus with genuine faith (Matthew 22:1-14).

 

The good news of Jesus is not just acknowledgement of religious teachings and certain beliefs, or a blind leap of faith into the unknown; but a thought-out and heartfelt response of authentic trust in the Person and message of Jesus.

 

A trust which results in a changed heart and increasing Christ-likeness, motivated by God’s loving-kindness (James 2:18, Hebrews 11). This is the fruit that comes from accepting and understanding the good news of Jesus (Matthew 13:23).

 

We are asked to place our trust in the message of Jesus. A message which can be understood by a child, leaving no excuse for anyone to hide in ignorance (Matthew 11:25-30). And although the message is often rejected because of its simplicity, anyone truly interested in knowing Jesus, can find all the information and reasons to trust Jesus in the Bible.

 

Yet most people have never seriously read the Bible and given God a reasonable hearing. For all who genuinely consider who Jesus is and what He says - it is abundantly clear He is worthy of our trust, devotion and worship.

 

The message of Jesus is set against the backdrop of a fallen and broken world. Our moral rebellion and disobedience to God’s revealed law is the primary cause of all evil and suffering 

(Romans 3:9-12). Jesus has come to remedy sin and evil in the heart, by conquering sin and death, and enabling access to God through His atoning death and resurrection.

 

Our willful rejection of God’s clear instructions and redefining of what we think is good and evil, is the essence of sin (Jeremiah 2:11-13). But only God can determine what is good and evil, and only God can be God (Ezekiel 38:23). In a sense, God has taken it upon Himself to prove to all creation that He is the only One who can be God (Ezekiel 36:23).

 

The Bible demonstrates that all the ways of God are good and perfect (Psalm 19:7-11); and we either come to this understanding by trusting in Jesus, or we reject Him and suffer the unimaginable consequences of our disobedience; exclusion from the knowledge of God and His great salvation, and abandonment into ever-increasing darkness and depravity (Romans 1:28). 

 

Just like Adam and Eve, we have all chosen to willfully disobey God, and now suffer the consequences of sin; in death, suffering and evil (Genesis 3:17), which will eventually lead to eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

God in His mercy and grace, holds out His offer of salvation to all people before His impending judgment. An offer of reconciliation to our Creator through the forgiveness of our sins by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

We have been created for heaven, to be in an intimate and personal relationship with our Maker. Our fallen minds and deceitful hearts are not capable of containing the glory of God which await those who trust in Jesus. But in Christ, we can inherit the assurance and hope of heaven, and receive the grace and guidance we so desperately need for our journey through this life, until Jesus returns or our earthly life expires.

 

Explanation of the Parable of the Sower

The explanation of the parable comes from a question asked by the disciples. “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answers with the statement in verses 11 and 12. 

 

“Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him”

(Matthew 13:11-12).

 

Why is access to the mysteries of the kingdom given to some and not to others?

 

The answer is, many simply don’t trust God enough to seek to know Him or love their sin more than God. They don’t make the effort to listen to Jesus and understand His message. 3 out of 4 of all people who hear Jesus’ message don't understand because they: don't make an effort to understand, don't want to suffer with Him, or loved other things more than Jesus.

A big part of Jesus’ message is to turn our hearts towards God (Luke 1:17), to come to Him in faith (Matthew 11:28-30), to seek Him with an attitude of willing submission (Matthew 6:33), to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).

 

In the context of discipleship, a disciple means being a student and learning from Jesus, to sit at His feet (Luke 10: 38-42), daily eat and drink His words to nourish our souls (John 6:53-58, 1 Peter 2:2). It means spending quality time with Jesus and getting to know Him (John 17:3); getting to know who He is, what He’s like, and the things which He considers good and evil (Jeremiah 9:24).

 

Jesus demands a commitment to get to know Him and come to an understanding of who He is and what He has done. This is what it means to follow Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23).

 

But how can people understand Jesus if they don’t believe He exists or rose from the dead? How can they understand if they don’t spend time reading the Bible and fighting the good fight of faith in genuinely seeking to understand Him? How can they understand Jesus if they do not value Him enough to make an effort?

 

If we are interested in and value a person, we want to spend time with them. Indeed, we make time for them, we ask questions, actively listen and are genuinely interested in their lives. If we are not interested, then we place them at the bottom of our priorities and make excuses why we can't spend time with them.

 

Trusting and following Jesus means He is the top priority in our lives and spending time with Him is not difficult but something we value as important and want to do.

 

A serious question raised by the parable is: does God choose who He will and will not save? Is our fate sealed by God’s decision? Or do we have the freedom to chose to accept or reject God’s offer of salvation?

 

This is a deep issue to understand and must be taken into consideration prayerfully and carefully, which we will do in Part 3.

 

“The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant” (Psalm 25:14).

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

(Matthew 7:7).

The Sower Part 3  

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