In yesterday’s reading we see that Jesus’ ministry demands a response to His miracles and teaching. Insiders and outsiders quickly form. His use of the parable continues to drive a wedge between these two groups. Jesus’ masterful storytelling hides the secrets of the kingdom from some, while simultaneously revealing it to others. Jesus—borrowing from popular culture of His day—weaves truth about the kingdom of God with horticulture. Those with ears to hear learn something about the soil, sower, and Son.
Jesus the Storyteller
“How’s your heart?” Drop into most small groups, and you might hear someone ask this question. But if we sat around Jesus while He was telling this parable, we might leave asking each other, “How’s your soil?” One of the warnings Jesus gives in this parable reminds the listener to consider the condition of the soil of her heart. If you are in the first group and you have not yet accepted the Word of God as true, then we encourage you to continue reading Mark. Do not allow the Enemy to steal the free gift God offers you. If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you might still find yourself in groups two and three—a believer but with a shallow faith concerned about things of the world more than things of the kingdom. The radical truth Jesus reveals about the kingdom is that even crummy soil—hearts divided between full devotion to God and cares of the world—still produces growth because God’s generosity pours forth despite our frailty. Yet the principle of reaping and sowing encourages a believer to condition the soil of her heart to receive the Word of God and obey. So, how’s your soil?
Jesus not only instructs His listeners to consider their soil, He encourages them to sow seeds of the kingdom. At first glance, you might think this sower wastes a lot of seed by throwing it on uncultivated ground. However, a study of first-century Palestinian horticulture reveals that many farmers sowed first then plowed, which would only then reveal which ground had rocks and thorns. Our takeaway? Indiscriminately sow seeds of the kingdom of God. Jesus teaches that our role is to share about the kingdom of God and to trust the growth to the Son.
Behind the responsibility of the individual to keep their soil fertile and to sow generously toward others is the reality that all growth comes from the Son. Good soil reaps what is sown into it, but the kingdom of God reaps more than we sow. While we share some responsibility to hear and obey, God’s kingdom declares the generosity of our King by showing we reap far, far more than we can ever sow. You give God a willing heart, He gives you the whole kingdom. What kind of King gives away His kingdom?
Jesus starts His parable by exclaiming “Listen!” because He knows His story demands a response from His listeners. After considering the parable of the sower, how would you describe the soil of your heart? What do you need to do to make it more fertile toward the Word of God?
Sign Up for Follow Emails
get the daily devotionals delivered to your email every morning