Hannah has provided the notes this week.
Well here’s the first reading for me and we’re off to a pretty good start with this parable (hopefully)! Get ready for a challenging read, there’s no-one that can say this doesn’t relate to them in some way, wherever they are in their relationship (or lack thereof) with God. The passage can be read here.
So, we’ve probably all read this one before, if not I don’t think that any of us can deny hearing this in a school assembly at some point. This is not the first passage we’ve looked at that has mentioned crowds gathering around Jesus. He was obviously saying things that people weren’t used to hearing – enough to draw some serious attention to himself. I guess some things haven’t changed in the years since this happened, people still love a good controversy, it’s a shame that most of the people standing out from the crowd seem to have a very different motivation. Jesus doesn’t stand out and draw crowds for the sake of it, he has a purpose and a mission.
Obviously I don’t need to explain the meaning of the parable itself as Jesus does this for the disciples (praise the Lord!). I do think it’s worth noting though that it would be easy for us to shrug this off as a message for those who aren’t Christians, but can we honestly say that we don’t get distracted and choked by worries or distracted by life’s pleasures sometimes? I know I can’t. Can we say we don’t lose faith in times of testing? Probably not. There seems to be a suggestion in this parable (to me at least) that we can keep sowing seeds of scripture to those around us, in the hope that some will take hold and yield a crop. Also, if the seeds represent the scripture it seems fairly apt that we’re studying this passage not long after we’ve started reading together – essentially we’re taking root together! I love a good metaphor.
There’s a little section in this that seems a bit weird and as tempting as it is to pretend that none of us have noticed it, I’m so fearful of the ‘dreaded’ comments section that it’s going to have to be tackled!! Jesus says, before his explanation, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.”’ What does this mean? Well, I can only tell you what I think it means so feel free to ignore it. I think this is about having eyes that are opened through faith. I think that Jesus is saying that those who are committed to him can understand what he is saying but those who are against him are unable to, to them it’s merely a story about seeds and a sower (he also quotes from a passage where people don’t understand the meaning of what Isaiah is saying in the Old Testament). I was talking to someone once who’d had cataracts and they’d had an operation to remove their lens and get rid of the blurriness they’d had for years, they said they hadn’t realised how little they’d been able to see – it was like someone had turned the lights on. I think Christians have experienced this in some way, when we give our lives to Christ it’s like someone has turned the lights on. We don’t realise how much depth and meaning is in scripture until we begin our relationship with him.
Lord, give us ears to hear and hearts to understand the seed of your scripture, that we may bear fruit for you. Help us to stand up for you when it’s costly, when nobody will know and when it might be noticed.