Matthew 13:1-9

During the season of Lent our devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s writers are the Lerch family.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying:

“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 13:1-9

As the crowds gathered to listen to Jesus, we can see his power to communicate the most profound spiritual messages using the most basic of everyday images. In the largely oral culture of 1st century Palestine, stories like this were a way of life stretching back for centuries as a means to pass down cultural values and beliefs from generation to generation. One did not need to be a farmer to understand the basics of plant life.

Yet, immediately following these words, Jesus’ disciples began to question him about what these figures meant.

We are the beneficiaries of the disciples’ slowness to catch on, for this is one of only a few parables in the Gospels where Jesus explains the meaning. While Jesus’ explanation of this parable has traditionally been read to refer to different types of people, perhaps it is instructive to see the various soils as different moments in each Christian’s faith journey.

We all have times where we hear the Word, but fail to respond to its call. We all have instances where our good intentions fall to pieces in the blinding face of reality. We all follow dead ends seeking the vain riches of this world. Despite these many failures, God still uses us, the broken sinners, to make a difference in the lives of our fellow pilgrims. Some efforts bear more fruit than others, but faith gives us the assurance that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”

What can we do to prepare the soil of our hearts to receive God’s Word so that it brings forth a bountiful crop? Jesus begins and ends the parable with same word: Listen! May we open our ears to hear what opportunities God has to share His love with others today.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings of your Word that you sow upon our hearts. Cultivate in us the spirit that will allow these seeds to bear fruit in the lives of those you have called us to serve. In your Son’s holy name, Amen.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 13:1-9”

  1. heatherjg79 Says:

    Love this! So well stated.

  2. Carolee Says:

    Lerch family: I think your understanding and explanation of Jesus’ parable on the sower’s planting of seeds is spot on. Jesus was able to explain to the people that the seeds are like people and how they grow or wither in their faith.
    But I especially like your resourcefulness in finding additional meaning in this parable; by having the soil and seeds represent each individual’s faith journey. I think this is a very perceptive way to view the passage. Sometimes we are stuck in the thorns of life, sometimes our roots give us shoots that may wither, sometimes we are scorched and burned out, we may feel up-rooted. At other times we grow in our knowledge and in our faith journey. We must LISTEN to Jesus calling us and LEARN from His Word and deeds. Thank you Lerch family for your insights on this passage.

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