The stories Jesus told were shocking, insulting, provocative, challenging, disrupting, unsettling, and frightening. They were anything but sweet, comforting, simple, and trite. In these short stories we experience the creative genius of Jesus as he crafts stories and examples intended to provoke a reaction... and let me warn you, "indifference", is not an option!
Today we will look at the parable that introduces all parables: The Strange Tale of the Sower from Matthew 13.1-9; 18-23. Beware how you listen to it as your life depends on it...
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SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 13.1-9; 18-23
On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them: 8 and others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most assuredly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”