Saturday 08 October 2016

Bible Book:

Matthew 13:1-17 Saturday 8 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 23


When I was a child I lived next to a farm and spent much of mytime watching its work. As the seasons progressed I saw the sowing,the growing, the reaping and the mowing so to speak. However in thetime when Jesus told the story of the sower, things were verydifferent.

When a sower went forth it would be, just as many artists overthe years have described, a man with a basket taking handfuls ofseed and scattering the seed on the ground which had been preparedfor it. There was no certainty where the seed would enter the soilor even if it would make it to the ground at all. Those listeningto the parable would know well the story; many of them would havefound themselves with a sparse harvest because the ground was toostony, or the wind was blowing the seed away from where it wasintended to land. They would know well about the vagaries of theweather - sometimes too wet, sometimes so hot and dry that even theseed which had fallen on the most fertile places would be scorchedand destroyed. There were also the weeds, which would choke theyoung and growing plants, destroying them as they grew.

In his inimitable way Jesus used the familiar toconvey a strong message, those listening to him are asked to lookbeyond the words to what the story means. It is assumed that thedisciples have been given the wisdom or the secret message of thekingdom of heaven, and one can assume from this that the others inthe crowd listening to the account would not fully understand thatJesus was speaking about the truth of God's purpose rather than afew seeds of corn. This fits with the thinking within Judaism thatfrom time to time visionaries would appear who believed they hadgot glimpses of the destiny God had in store for the world and thatthey would express their visions in cryptic form. Jesus' answer tothe question posed by the disciples is to point them back to theprophecy of Isaiah which indicates that although they understandthe message, the crowds have not yet been given the opportunity tounderstand for themselves. No doubt some in the crowd would go awayfrom the encounter and find themselves thinking of the inner truthwithin the words others perhaps take it, just as a story whichdescribes the life and the struggles they themselves have year byyear.

To Ponder

  • How do you read the parables? As a disciple, looking for themessage within? Or as a story which relates to life as it is andnothing more?
  • Why do you think the truth is only given to the disciples andkept from the wider audience listening to Jesus?
  • How much do you rely on the parables to help you to understandthe world and its problems?
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