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 - The Unpardonable Sin!), his ministry changed dramatically. Instead of performing miracles for the general public, he sought out individuals with personal needs and healed them based on 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 went out to plant his 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. They sprouted, but the thorns overpowered them, taking all the moisture and nutrients, and choking the 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.” His disciples were puzzled. When they were alone with Jesus, they asked him, “Why are you teaching in parables?” He told them, “The secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given to you, but not to others. The parables share Truth with those who want to hear and understand it. But they keep Truth hidden from those who are not really interested in finding it.” Then Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to his disciples. He said, “The seed is the Word of God—the Truth. The different kinds of soil represent the different ways people receive it. - “Some people are like the hard-packed dirt along the path. They hear God’s Word, but they don’t try to understand it. The birds represent Satan who comes and snatches the seeds away, so the people won’t have any chance to believe. - “Others are like the rocky places. They are filled with joy when they hear God’s Word. It begins to grow. But they don’t let it go any deeper into their lives. As soon as trouble or persecution comes along, the results of the Word wither away. - “Still others are like the thorns. They hear God’s Word, but their worries and worldly desires take up all their time and effort. Their focus on other things distracts them from God’s message. At the end of their lives, they have nothing worthwhile to show. - “But some people’s lives are like the good ground. They hear God’s Word, accept it, and live it. They produce an amazing crop!”
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?