1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear."

Matt 13:1-9 (NIV)

The same day our Lord had incurred oppositions and interruptions from family and rabble, we discover Him in our verses for today now tirelessly continuing on, remaining undeterred in His mission. We see Him not burdened with discouragement or despair rather reinvigorated with courage and zeal, facing and breaking through the difficulties which He continuously encountered in God’s service. Jesus’ servants should be found as resolute in kingdom work.

10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)

“Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not.” D. L. Moody

“Random acts of greatness pale in comparison to habitual acts of faithfulness. It’s not what you do every now and then, but what you do every day, that changes everything.” Ann Voskamp

The crowds were gathering like storm clouds before the deluge so much so that our Lord leaves the house and goes down by the lake making a pulpit out of a boat. Speaking from the water His voice would carry as if He were using a microphone – making sure all could hear the golden nuggets of His Words. Sometimes there is more power when there is less pomp in the presentation of Truth. Jesus shows us we do not need an elaborate sanctuary to teach and worship. Indeed, nature often appears to be even more conducive. God is very present in nature. I am reminded of Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts:

48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 9 ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’” Acts 7:48-50 (NIV)

Matthew now introduces for the first time in his gospel, parables. A parable, similar to an illustration, makes a comparison between a known truth – something familiar - and an unknown truth – something unfamiliar – casting them out alongside each other. Indeed, the word “Parable” is made up of two Greek words meaning “to throw alongside”. Parables compel listeners to discover the truth while at the same time conceal it from those too lazy or stubborn to seek it. The truth becomes clear to those who are willing to open their eyes and honestly search for it. Far too often we approach gaining wisdom and knowledge in the Truth of of God’s Word flippantly at best. We often spend more time reading books about the Bible rather than investing our time reading the Bible. I am reminded of the words recorded in Jeremiah:

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer 29:13 (NIV)

The words in Proverbs come to mind as well – inspiring, encouraging and convicting – pointing to our responsibility in gaining a heart of wisdom:

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Prov 2:1-10 (NIV)

“If you are to be God’s for ever, be his today.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Lastly, our Lord begins the Parable of the Sower. He states the good seed – the Gospel – is sown on four types of ground (hearts) – the hardened, the shallow, the weed infested and the fertile following it with a “Heads up!” to grab our attention. This is an important message – one He is desirous for us to grasp. The hardened ground appears impenetrable – the mind is made up, God’s Word makes no impression – the heart has no intent of changing with the Truth presented. These careless hearers are easy prey for Satan’s minions as the birds come and snatch the Truth sown. The shallow ground represents those who are left with a good impression – warm fuzzy feelings – yet with no root they are not lasting. The weed infested ground represents hearts caught up in worldly matters choking out any fruit making them unprofitable. The seed met with fertile soil are those who hear the Word, understand it and produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

What I Glean

  • Jesus was resolute in His mission. I am to be faithful as well.
  • One does not need a splendid sanctuary built by hands to worship God – nature built by God is a wonderful setting for authentic worship.
  • I am to seek wisdom with all my heart.