"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
Then he (Jesus) told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer
went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell
along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because
the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were
scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed
fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other
seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or
thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Matthew 13: 3-9 (NIV)
I was thinking about this parable the other day. Jesus goes on to explain the parable to His disciples in verses 18 through 23. The disciples had asked Him why He spoke in parables to
the people. His answer is a little confusing to me, but I think I understand it. This is what Jesus says: He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (v. 11-13)
These disciples, and any others who were becoming dedicated followers of Jesus, were the ones who would be able
to understand what He is teaching. Listen, it’s one thing to go to a football game, quite another to understand the rules, players, jargon, and such. The ones who do are dedicated to the game
of football and all things associated with it. The same can be
said about Jesus and the Gospel He is sharing about the coming Kingdom. Those who understand or who take a real interest in what Jesus is talking about will receive insight to the parables. Those who are only showing up for the entertainment won’t. Same can be said about attending church. Those who really want to worship Jesus will be blessed in the worship service. They will praise God as they sing. They will feel His Spirit as they lift up prayers. They will see Jesus in the Scriptures that are read. And they will understand better the relationship they have with the One and True God. Those who attend because, well, that’s what you do, won’t go home with the same feeling of being blessed. It will only look like music, standing, reading, sitting, and listening. Religion vs. relationship, that’s the key.
That’s what Jesus is talking about when He describes those who have ears to hear. He continues explaining to His disciples how this works: In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (v. 14, 15)
I love it when Jesus explains what He is talking about. Jesus doesn’t just pull random ideas out of thin air, He quotes from Scripture...Old Testament stuff to back up what He’s teaching. I remember a student asked one of our professors, who was good at quoting sections of the New Testament, if he had the Bible memorized. He said, “Not all of it. I do have all of the New Testament memorized, but I’m still working on the Old Testament.” Wow, I thought, I’m lucky to remember what day it is! Jesus wrote all the Scriptures, Old and New. His Spirit, one part of the Trinity, was inspiring the writers to write these things down. (Inspired means God-breathed.)
Well, I’ve run out of room for this month, so I’ll have to pick this back up again next month. But, take this to heart, don’t make going to church a ritual, put your heart into it. Have ears to hear. Hang in there and have a safe and glorious Independence Day. God bless.