Archive for July 18th, 2017

In Matthew 11 the Lord’s cousin, John the Baptist had sent his disciples who did not really get it that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.  Two cities of which Jesus did many great deeds were unrepentant.  In the next chapter, the Pharisees accused Jesus as a man healing people by the power of “Beelzebul, the prince of demons” and the Pharisees “…went out and conspired against Him, how to destroy Him.” Note:  not just “kill” but “destroy”.   The times were hard and so was the soil. And here in chapter 13 is our Lord’s Sermon of Parables and most of  them are about seeds and plants growing.  The parable of the Sower is the Lord answers the question:  Why is it that so many in the crowd are not responding in faith and discipleship? The Parable of the Sower answers that question then and now.  

Verses 1-4:  That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

Verses 18-19:When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path

 “the word of the kingdom” This is what the reign of the Lord is like:  a seed.  “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.”  1 Corinthians 15:  43  A seed in the ground growing. Sown in weakness.  Sown in death.  Against amazing odds. Even malicious enemies. No moral law makes a seed grow. This is specific Word of God of His reign through Jesus Christ.  I chose the icon above because of a significant detail: notice the depiction of the Lord’s hand.  Yes, red with the mark of the nail and it is almost as if the seed is coming from his blood, and so His forgiveness is given through the means of preaching and teaching, the means of grace, that is, the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, in repentance and absolution. We preach Christ and Him crucified.  The Lord calls His Church to preach the Lord’s reign through he death and resurrection of HIs Son for sinners. 

Along the beaten path, the road very traveled, that every Tom, Dick and Harry walks, the easy path that leads to destruction,  the devil comes along and snatches the seed of the Word of God’s reign. Everyone is doing it whatever the current “it” is. “Everyone’s doing it”.   For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  And along the beaten path  of the world, many are beaten by it. His Word laying on the top is prey to the evil one.

A sower went out to sow:

The sower sows; his reckless love 
Scatters abroad the goodly seed, 
Intent alone that men may have 
The wholesome loaves that all men need. 

“…this sower, unlike other sowers, casts seed without apparent regard for where it lands. ” This picture illustrates the gracious character of Jesus, who invites to himself all who labor (11:28) and who has come to call even sinners to repentance (9:13). This indiscriminate broadcast—of the seed and of the Gospel—is not very “efficient” and goes against the human tendency to conserve one’s resources and efforts when one is not confident about receiving personal benefits. Surely this is not the most “productive” way to operate. But that’s how it is with the reign of God in Christ; grace trumps efficiency.” (Concordia Commentary on St. Matthew by Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs)

This is a good line:  “grace trumps efficiency”.  The Sower casts the Word of the Kingdom all over.  The word “seminary” has as the Latin  root, “seed” as the school to teach men to preach and teach the Word, but all Christians will be given opportunities to broadcast the Word of the Gospel.  “Broadcast” is the name given to this type of sowing.  We call TV shows, “broadcasts”:  it’s all over.  Jesus was not stingy with the Word of the Kingdom, of the promises fulfilled in Him who is the Word made flesh. The Lord knew about broadcasting a long time before the 20th century.  

After all, we heard His Word last week, COME TO ME ALL WHO BURDEN AND HEAVY LADEN AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST: ALL,  the doubting, the frightened, those carrying a load of woe, those who know their sin and know they can not do anything about it. They are the soil of the seed:  the Word of the Kingdom.

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