One of the most challenging parables Jesus ever told, was perhaps his simplest one. A seed that falls on good soil eventually bears a crop far greater than the size of the seed sown. That’s it. The DNA of the kingdom of God is bound up in the word of God. When it’s spoken, it falls on good soil….or not so good soil. The ironic thing in Jesus’ parable is that here we have a crazy farmer who indiscriminately slings seeds everywhere including unlikely places to sprout. “What a waste” the farmers in Jesus’ audience would have thought. Everyone knows you don’t plant seeds in a patch of weeds, or in crummy, shallow dirt, or on a path.
But the hook in the story is this, reader, you are soil if you’re reading this. Like it or not. You are good soil. Or bad soil. Jesus tells you what good soil does – good soil listens, good soil grows voraciously, good soil produces a crop. But how to become good soil if you’re not? Jesus doesn’t say much about that. And that should unsettle us more than a little!
Path, rocks and weeds have already quit reading this post. If you’ve made it to this sentence, maybe, just maybe you get what Jesus is talking about. And if you’re curious, but still not sure you know what the parable of the soils is about, come on out to Christianity Explored. And keep listening.
Christianity Explored meets at 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126 at Christ Community on Sunday mornings.
Last week in Jesus Class we hit on one of most baffling aspects of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus can be so profoundly simple in portraying kingdom truth, while at the same time outstrip humanity’s ability to conceive just what it is we’re supposed to do with what he’s telling us!
The parable of the sower and the seeds for example. One of Jesus’ most familiar stories, sadly falls on ears and eyes that just don’t hear or see. People flocked from everywhere in Jesus’ day to get to where he was at. And when they showed up, what did they get? A story about a stupid farmer who plants seeds on sidewalks!
If you think you’ve got the secret of the kingdom figured out try this. Give Mark chapter 4 a read, but shut your bible after verse 9 and see if you can decipher the secret of the kingdom. Go ahead! I dare you.
By the time Jesus is done with the Twelve in the verses that follow…there’s a slim chance some of them understand the secret. But if you’re in Jesus’ audience and you can’t get past a story about seeds and soil, how will you understand anything else Jesus has to say?
Once you get the secret figured out, see if you can figure out why Jesus teaches in parables based on Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiah was told he was going to have people who didn’t want to hear him out, but to keep preaching anyway! Otherwise…how’s anybody who does want to hear and understand ever going to get it with so many dense people in the crowd!
Ouch. That hurts, Jesus! Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?
(hint: the secret is hidden in the questions. if you don’t ask, you’ll never really know)