THE SEED WILL GROW!
"His disciples asked, 'Why did you tell this story?' He said, 'You've been given insight into God's kingdom -- you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories, some of them aren't going to get it: Their eyes are open but don't see a thing, Their ears are open but don't hear a thing.
"This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the devil snatches it from them so they won't believe and be saved.
"The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn't go very deep. It's only another fad, and the moment there's trouble it's gone.
"And the seed that fell in the weeds -- well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they worry about tomorrow, making money and having fun.
"But the seed in good earth -- these are the good hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.'" Luke 8:9-15 (The Message).
When Jesus gives the explanation, the story is quite easy to understand. Just as it happens in nature, so it happens in people. There are different responses to the same message, and different outcomes.
Even among His own disciples there were different responses, although He was with them all the time and they watched and listened to the same teaching and the same demonstrations of the way the kingdom worked.
Take Judas, for example. How could a man who had been in close contact with Him for more than three years, turn on Him and sell His out to the Jewish hierarchy? What did he see but not see? What did he hear but not hear? Surely it was a matter of interpretation as well as expectation.
Why did Judas respond to Jesus' invitation to follow Him? After the first flush of excitement, what was he expecting from this association? Did he have political aspirations, coupled perhaps with hopes of huge financial gain that made him stick with Jesus until he could see that there was nothing in it for him? Was he like the soil that was choked with weeds and had no place for the Word to take root?
Perhaps Judas had grown up in poverty and saw his opportunity to escape the cycle of need and want when he joined the group. Is that why he stole money from the common purse -- just because he had access to more money than he had even seen in his life? Perhaps he came from a wealthy home and he just loved money. He loved to feel the weight of it in his bag, and to know that he always had resources to buy anything he wanted.
What about the other disciples? Jesus' Word didn't seem to make much impression on them, especially when the chips were down. They also had what we call "selective hearing"! There were certain things they chose not to hear at the time, especially when Jesus spoke about the cross. It took the terrible events of His arrest and death to open their eyes and ears to what He had been telling them for a long time.
But Jesus didn't give up on them because He knew that the potential for growth and fruitfulness lay in the seed and when the time and the soil were right, the seed would germinate and grow. And so it did.
It's like that in our lives too. We may be deaf to what God is saying to us, but He doesn't give up because there will come a time when the hardness and resistance are removed and we become sensitive to what He is saying. He sometimes has to use drastic means to break up the soil, but He will do it so that we can become fruitful for Him.
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