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Jesus the Storyteller

Watch Week Three Day Two

Jesus the Storyteller

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.

Soil

“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?

Sower

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.

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?

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Daily Question

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?

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Comments (3)

I feel I am somewhere between the thorns of the world and the good soil bearing fruit. I keep to the word and feel I am growing spiritually, but then the world comes and drops another item on me. My growth in the Lord has shortened my knee jerk reactions. Ah. Progress.

My soil varies from time to time. Sometimes in moments of desperation I want that quick fix. But I know deep in my soul that my soil is strong and it is God who has given me the strength and courage to continue on and to find gratefulness in even the smallest victories.

Currently, the soil of my heart is one that is yearning to grow, but is struggling to let go of what was. I know that hanging on to past hurt hardens my heart and makes it difficult for me to move forward. Standing firm’ is a phrase that comes to mind when thinking about remaining fertile to the word of God.

What we believe influences how we act. When I was baptized I stated that "I believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he died on the cross for my sins so I could have communion with God"; I also stated that "Jesus is my Lord". It’s important that I remain firm in my belief and act in accordance to what I professed. There are times when my soil struggles to be fruitful and that’s when the "weeds of the world" come in. What blows my mind is my baptismal statement includes the solution to this problem. I professed Jesus to be my Lord and therefore my profession redirects me to His sovereignty; His sovereignty is where I can find insight into the "weeds" and direction and help to "pull them out" in order to remain fruitful and produce more Kingdom crop.

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