Luke 13:3-9 (context 13:3-23)
Then he told them many things in parables, saying, “Consider the sower who went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it.
8 Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. 9 Let anyone who has ears listen.”
Luke 3:3-9 (context 13:3-23)
Jesus loved to tell stories. Each of them was jam-packed with truth, and the people loved them. In verse 2, we see the popularity of Jesus–just imagine a preacher doing this today. The people were entranced by our Lord Jesus. They followed him throughout his earthly ministry.
If you were his disciple, you had better get used to crowds.
This parable, believed to be one of his first, begins with the word, “Consider,” and really, isn’t that the needed quality one must have? In the original, it simply means “to see.” But it’s also in the imperative–a command. Seeing isn’t really an option–may be a good word today would be, “Look!” (And using an exclamation mark.)
This is all about receptivity to the Kingdom of God. It concerns seed that is sown indiscriminately–the sower isn’t assessing the ground conditions. He just throw the seed. That’s his job, and he seems to do a bang-up job of it. He “broadcasts” the seed, reaching in his bag and spreading it evenly, and quickly.
In some places the ground had been packed down, things were too hard. Others landed on soil, but it was only a skim of dirt, which wasn’t enough to support any growth.. And yet the third scattering made it to into the thorns. So there was three different possibilities, which none were ideal.
But there was a fourth.
Seed that landed right where it should–good soil, fertile, tilled, and ready. The first three were all wrong, but the parable isn’t given to find fault–no one was to blame. And certainly not the sower, he was merely doing what was necessary.
The parable is meant to explain how the Kingdom enters our hearts. Our lives are the soil, and we all react to the seed differently. Sometimes, there’s no response at all, and “birds” get their breakfast. Sometimes, it’s all rocky, and nothing can grow there. Some tried to grow, but thorns and thistles essentially got in the way.
There are always four responses to the words of Jesus.
There was a lot of people sitting on the beach, and all were listening. But Jesus knew deep down that his words would only touch 1 out of 4, and yet he kept sowing. He hoped for good soil, but that wasn’t a given.
In verses 18-23, Jesus had to explain this story to his disciples, who always did seem out-of-touch with these sorts of things. But I’m glad he did–Jesus, by interpreting this parable, gave us the keys that would unlock every one of his others.
Jesus was never mystical or otherworldly, he didn’t cloak his words in imponderable mysteries like every other teacher longs to do. (Ego, mainly.) He didn’t want things to be an enigma, rather he wanted people to understand the ways and nature of God’s kingdom.
He wanted even the little children to get it–there were to be no secrets, only receptive hearts.
“The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.”