235 - Jesus Begins Teaching in Parables
AUGUST 23- Nº 235 Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
After the religious leaders of Israel declared that Jesus received his power from Satan (see #234 - August 22), his ministry changed dramatically: · Instead of performing miracles for the general public, he sought out individuals with personal needs and healed them based on their personal faith. · Instead of sharing God’s truths with the masses, he focused on training his disciples. · Instead of speaking in sermons so everyone could hear and understand, he began teaching in parables and explaining them privately to his disciples. One day, as Jesus was sitting by the Sea of Galilee, crowds began to gather around him. As he often did, he climbed into a boat and began to teach from there. He told a story about a farmer who planted a field. As the farmer scattered his seeds, some fell along the path. The birds came and ate the seeds as they lay there on top of the hardened ground. Some of the seeds fell on the rocky soil. A thin layer of soil on top of the bedrock allowed them to sprout quickly, but they couldn’t really take root, so they withered as soon as the sun became hot. Some of the seeds fell among thorns. The seeds sprouted, but the thorns overpowered them, taking all the moisture and nutrients and choking the new plants. They never matured or produced any grain. But some of the seeds fell on good soil and grew into healthy plants. The result was a great harvest. After he finished telling this story, all Jesus said was, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This puzzled his disciples. When they were alone, they asked him, “Why are you teaching in parables?” Jesus explained, “The secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given to you, but not to others. The parables share Truth with people who are looking for it. They are able to hear what I am saying and understand it. But the parables also keep Truth hidden from people who are not interested in finding it—who have no honest interest in the things of God.” Then Jesus shared the meaning of the story he had just told. He said, “The seed is the Word of God. It is the Truth. The different kinds of soil represent the different ways people receive it. · “Some people’s hearts are like the hard-packed dirt along the path. They hear God’s Word, but their hearts are so hard they can’t receive it. Their resistance allows Satan’s agents (the birds) to snatch away any seeds of Truth. · “Other people’s hearts are like the rocky places. They are filled with joy when they hear God’s Word, and it begins to grow inside them. But they don’t give it a chance to go very deep. Their faith is shallow. As soon as trouble or persecution comes along, the results wither away. · “Still others’ hearts are filled with thorns. They hear God’s Word, but the worries in their lives and their desire to become rich in this world take up all their time and effort. There is no space left for God’s Word to grow. At the end of their lives, they have nothing worthwhile to show. · “But some people’s hearts are like the good ground. They hear God’s Word, accept it, and live according to its Truth. The result is an amazing harvest!”
What kind of soil are you? Do you listen to what God has to say to you in the Bible and through others? Do you accept it and allow it to change your life? Are there visible results? Are other people coming to know Him because of you?