Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Comment: This passage is divided into two.
Firstly, and interestingly following the previous (yesterday’s) passage, besides his twelve special male disciples, three women are named (there were others also) who had been healed by Jesus. Obviously they weren’t all poor women as they are reported as providing for the band out of their means. Was the sinner-woman, who is previously recorded without a name as having washed his feet, one of them? So we know that both men and women were in his team and the women as motley a lot as the men!
Secondly, with an explanation given later in private, a parable is told about a sower going out to spread seed in his field. Combining the story and the explanation there were types of harvest from the sowing. In the story – a wheat harvest; in the explanation – a life response to hearing the word of God.
- Some seed fell on the hard road (devil controlled lives) and is eaten by the birds (the devil). There is no harvest reapt.
- Some fell onto shallow soil overlying rock (shallow people with little depth of character) which grows then quickly shrivels (initial interest but their shallowness of character doesn’t allow them to follow up on it.) No harvest reapt.
- Some fell among weeds and thorns (a life full of pleasures and other interests) grows a bit but then is choked out and unproductive (their old life habits win the day) and no seed is produced.
- Some fell onto a well prepared area (honest and good hearts) and produces much seed (the desired result of the message).
Jesus asked ‘Have you got ears?’ then gives a simple command “Listen and Understand!’ – that is really ‘hear’. But in this passage it doesn’t tell us what the message is. We’ve probably got an idea and no doubt it will be fully explained as we follow on.
Prayer: I’m listening, please reveal the message to me. I want to be productive.