What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus uses parables—stories about ordinary things everyone would have been familiar with—to explain what the Kingdom of God is like.
- Jesus was rejected by his hometown.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Disciple-makers gather to hear the teachings of Jesus.
- Followers of Jesus keep asking for explanations.
Extended thoughts and observations:
The Sower is one of the times that Jesus explains His parable this clearly. It is a warning on two levels: First…which kind of soil am I, really? The seed (the gospel) is the same and is sprinkled generously all over the place. It is the soil…that is, OUR SOIL — our receptivity — that is different. Asking the question, “What kind of soil am I?”… and then begging the Lord to make you into good soil even as He makes you into good fruit- bearing trees is the summary of our life of discipleship.
But notice…this is also a VERY strong passage about the sovereignty of God. He reveals to whom He will. His “secrets” are received by some and grow in those hearts; others hear the “secrets” of the kingdom again and again, and they only harden them. So, IF God stirs your heart to receive the secrets of the gospel then that is HIS divine initiative to be acknowledged and received with gratitude. BUT… there is also a responsiveness that is called for. We must act upon as much as the Lord reveals to us.
Put a different way, if we hear the gospel — know of Jesus, recognize our sins, promise to turn from them and follow Him — and yet veer away from His way and teachings again and again, the risk is that our hearts harden and we become …or perhaps are confirmed as being…one of the bad soils.
At this point, someone might object, “What if God DIDN’T make me as good soil? What am I to do?” Like the teaching on the unforgiveable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in chapter 12, if you CARE about these things… if you long to follow Christ and desire to bear the right fruit, even if you don’t presently… it is an indication of the light and goodness of the Spirit at work in you. It is those who just do not care, who are indifferent to the “secrets” of the Kingdom, for which we should be concerned.
In other words, if you can look at this parable and say, “I think I am the easily tempted, rocky soil” and that frightens or concerns you because you want to be good soil, it indicates the Spirit is at work there. So respond to that prompting and ask the Lord to protect you from temptations, to deepen your roots, or to teach you NOT to care so much about riches of this world… and look for a harvest in your life.