Column: Planting the Seeds of Faith
Among the Bible’s more familiar parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Sower, shared in the Gospels of Matthew (13:1-23), Mark (4:1-20), and Luke (8:1-15).
You probably know it. Jesus tells of the farmer (or sower) planting seeds on paths, among rocks, among thorns and in good soil.
‘Couple things. One, the parable is not instruction about farming. And two, it is the only parable that Jesus actually explains. To wit, the truth of Jesus – the word of God – is spread into the world like seed, but in some hearts this “seed” is destroyed upon arrival (strewn on paths), in others it may bloom briefly but quickly dies (rocks), and in some it grows but cannot bear fruit due to the chaos of its environment (thorns). In the “good soil,” in the rare receptive human heart, the seed of the Gospel truth blossoms to serve mankind, glorify God, and is passed on to others.
Jesus routinely spoke in parables. We are told He explained them to his disciples, but not to the public, and certainly not to the Pharisees. Only those with “ears to hear,” i.e., receptive hearts, could discern Jesus’ true meaning. Typically, it was a message people didn’t want to hear: that Jesus was the Messiah Christ, Son of God, come to fulfil the covenant of God to restore fallen mankind into His own Kingdom.
The humble Jesus was entirely not who anyone was expecting. His message of love, faith, and servanthood flew in the face not only of worldly culture but, specifically and virulently, of Jewish law. The parables are not cultural advice; they explain how the New Covenant of God in Jesus Christ fulfils God’s plan, changes human hearts, promotes faith and love in Christ over Hebraic laws and obedience, and glorifies God.
For man, it was a really, really radical concept: tough to hear and hard to believe.
But then, Jesus isn’t a concept. He is God, the Truth, and a Person. He is the entirety of divine creation and action in the Cosmos. Christ presents a reality too big to leave room for anything else, crowding out self-interest. No wonder so few Law-oriented ears wanted to hear His message.
And it’s in the “anything else” where Satan operates to subvert the bigness of God’s majesty and love with the smallness of self-centered humanity’s worldly desires. Satan started by spoiling the soil of the human heart in the Garden, was there at the arrival of Jesus, and persists in his Jesus-subverting mischief yet today.
God never stops sowing seeds, and Satan – for now – never stops tampering with the soil.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) has a wife with a green thumb and (thank God) a kind heart.