“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Jesus ends His parable with a signature statement, “He who has ears, let him hear.” It means that if we are able to listen, we should listen, and listen carefully. The parable has a point that is not to be missed.
That point is not actually about farming at all. It is not that farmers are unconcerned about their seed, or blind and unable to see where they are sowing, or in such a hurry they can’t be bothered to be careful. The point is that the Gospel message must be sowed, and it must be sowed hurriedly, wherever we find ourselves. The point tells us that Jesus is not simply telling a story. He is recruiting workers for the harvest!
Jesus knows that the crowd has heard Him speak to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Jesus knows that the crowd has left the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to come out and hear Him because they know there is something about Him and His teaching that is much more attractive. But Jesus is not there to entertain the crowds any more than He was there to entertain the Pharisees when they demanded yet another sign. He is about a mission-critical task, and that task is to see the Good News of the Kingdom of His Father spread – as far and as wide as possible.
The Kingdom is coming, and when the Kingdom is manifest the King will judge those who broke His covenant. Jesus wants to see people forgiven of their sins under the new covenant of His sacrifice so that they will not be condemned when that time comes. He sees the condition of their souls and knows the spiritual climate they are part of. He knows that their only hope for freedom is if someone keeps communicating the Gospel to them. The seed must be sowed, yet He also knows that His own time is limited. Therefore, the opportunity to get the Good News to them must be taken to its fullest advantage.
For these reasons, each person who hears and responds to the Gospel – to the call of Christ – must be part of sowing the seed to others. Jesus tells us this parable with purpose. Unless we realize what He is saying to us and go about the same task as He did, we are not part of His solution. To let the Gospel seed grow in us, we must die to ourselves and follow Him and His purposes wholeheartedly. That doesn’t mean we must all become full time salaried ministers, but it does mean we must bear witness where we are sowed, and it does mean we must bear fruit in keeping with repentance!
Or as Jesus put it, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Amen.
Wherever God places you in the secular world, you are only there as a means to spread the gospel where you are.Michael Jakes
How will you apply Jesus’ point in the context of your life this week?