There are a number of extra-biblical theories about Jesus. Some argue he was married. Others claim he was not divine, but just a great teacher. And still others are so far off the mark they can make a Hollywood movie (e.g., Dan Brown). Jesus was very aware these things would happen, and that we would lose faith. He explains in detail the three things that will knock us off His path, and one that will bring Life.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains that the scattered seeds (God’s Word) fell among four places. Just as we scatter grass seed for our lawn, some falls on our walkway, some falls on rocky places, some falls in with weeds and thorns, but some falls on good soil.
The Path: when seed hits the path, the birds eat it up. That is, the Word of God is stolen. As an example, extra-biblical theories, secular scholarship, and cultural influences create doubt and skepticism. They’re promoted by those that do not believe or trust in God’s Word, but rather steal it (twist it) into their own creation. Thus the Word of God is stolen before it can take root in someone.
The Rocks: when seeds fall in the rocky places that lack sufficient soil, they spring up quickly. However, they burn out in the sun because they have no root (no depth). Many who hear the Word of God are, at first, delighted (the spirit is willing) – and they spring to life! However, when hard times come, they resort to their old patterns, behaviors, and vices. Rather than the Word of God sinking deeper into their hearts, they are disillusioned, thinking, “It shouldn’t be this hard,” or, “I thought life would get better when I became a Christian.” Failing to see the opportunities to grow in their faith, the quickly fall away.
The Thorns: when seed falls among thorns it gets choked out and can’t grow properly. Many of us are so wrapped up (entwined, entangled) in the worries of this world and the enticements of our culture. Whether work, relationships, or money, we take our eyes off Jesus. We worry more about cars, clothes, and gadgets than we do about a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Consequently, the life is choked out of us and we can’t bear any fruit. We fall into depression and despair – life becomes a grind – we’re dead.
Good Soil: when seed falls on good soil it explodes into a wonderful harvest! When the Word of God takes root in our heart, mind, and soul, we begin to grow – to transform. People take notice. The worries and cares of the world grow strangely dim, as the old hymn goes. The things that once held us back are stripped away in a slow process of sanctification. Our self-focus becomes other-focused. Life has deep purpose, hope, meaning. Our deepest desires are met as we experience the Grace of the Living God.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus puts his finger directly on our issues. He knows we’ll struggle. He knows some will fall away. He gently reminds us of the pitfalls, and how quickly we can lose faith. Our confidence in God, especially in a skeptical culture such as ours, is so easily shaken.
But think about this. In our day, we talk about being “half the man” of some great figure. With Jesus, the numbers are exponential – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown!
Thanks for reading,