Jesus and the Parable of the Sower

#020 Blog.  In the parable of the sower, She dropped many seeds along the path. (pt. 1)

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up…” [Matt 13: 3&4 NIV]

In this parable Jesus uses the analogy of a farmer sowing seeds.  He doesn’t really get into a lot of detail about the seeds, what sort of farm it was, or anything like that.  What He does get into—in quite lengthy detail—is the various conditions of the ground.  And the examples He presents include various environments which surround the planting ground itself.  I have heard many sermons given by of variety of preachers who get into the whys and the wherefores concerning these different conditions with the intention of making it a lesson about “conditions of people’s hearts”.  I’m not going to do this here simply because this analogy wears thin in spots.  My emphasis will bring a complete departure from this approach to introduce a new twist.  My thinking is that Jesus wasn’t referring to people’s hearts at all, rather He was referring to the condition of the community environments in which people congregate—the church congregations.  I preached a sermon on this a long time ago and as I was formulating my thoughts at that time I was drawn into this perspective and it still rings true to me today.  Back then it was one of my first preaching assignments so, needless to say, I had a big lump in my throat through most of my dissertation!

                          In my book, “the Jesus Clone” I also incorporated the sower imagery and was able to build on the main image I had used in that sermon.  The image I’m talking about is the seeds that fell along the path.  Let me begin by admitting that I had misinterpreted this section of the parable for many years before I preached that sermon.  Before the sermon, when hearing, “…fell along the path” my mind interpreted it to say, “…fell alongSIDE the path”.  In other words, along the shoulder of the road.  As I prepared my sermon it dawned on me that that isn’t what’s being said!  He is saying that the seeds fell on top of the path.  This made all the difference for me.  Once I realized this, the rest of His sentence made much more sense.  Because the seeds fell on top of the path it suggested what the condition of the ground or the soil was like. This ground wasn’t at all conducive for planting seeds into in that its hard, impacted surface would actually prevent the seeds from fulfilling their destiny.  The seeds would just sit there, not able to germinate; while at the same time being in an open, visible and vulnerable place; in this place the birds could easily pick them up and carry them off.

                          The direction I pursued in the sermon was to point out the main characteristic of a footpath was that it was easy to travel on. All of the foot traffic converted it into being a much better surface for walking or congregating on, but much less conducive for planting in.  The title of my sermon back then was something to do with the characteristic of Jesus being a plow tine.  Let me build out this image for a moment; Jesus once declared that He came as a sword to live among humans.  I’m not altogether clear on what image He was going for with this, but I would like to hang onto the spear image and reshape it using an Isaiah reference:  “They will beat their spears into plowshares…” OK?  Now we have Jesus as a plowshare.  With this plowshare we are able to churn up that well-trodden footpath making it much more conducive for planting seeds!  (To be continued)

of Jesus being a plow tine.  Let me build out this image for a moment.  Jesus once declared that He came as a sword to live among humans.  I’m not altogether clear on what image He was going for with this, but I would like to hang onto the spear image and reshape it using an Isaiah reference:  “They will beat their spears into plowshares…” OK?  Now we have Jesus as a plowshare.  With this plowshare we are able to churn up that well-trodden footpath making it much more conducive for planting seeds!  (To be continued)

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