Friday, June 27, 2014

What will you do with Jesus? (Luke 8:4-9)

When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. (Luke 8:4-9 NASB)

Remember the crowd in the previous post? It was full of every sort of listener from truly transformed disciples (including those twelve apostles)  to seekers who wanted to know more to skeptics to critics. Everyone heard the same words. At the end of His parable, Jesus said something very surprising. "He who has ears, let him hear."  

We don't know if the crowd was surprised by this, but they must have been. They all had ears, and two of them. Of course they had ears! What kind of comment was Jesus making? They had ears and they could hear, but for many of the people, His words made no sense. Jesus was suggesting that they hear with more than the two appendages on the sides of their heads. He wanted them to hear with their hearts. He was saying, "Think about this, and figure out what it means for yourselves." 

He didn't want them to simply understand the symbols in the story, He wanted them to ponder His words long enough to understand both the symbols and how the story related to their own hearts. Which kind of soil did they have in their hearts? 

What did the crowd do in response to His challenge? It seems that most people drifted away. Maybe they felt He was being purposely vague and thought it was too much trouble to parse it out. Maybe they didn't care enough to try to figure it out. 

Regardless, it was only that small segment of the group, the disciples, who were given a clarifying explanation. (Don't forget that the apostles were only a twelve-man team that had been separated out from the disciples). They received understanding and insight only when they asked for it.  

Before we look at the different soils in this story, we need to ask one important question. Are we in the group of disciples who want to understand in order to become more like Jesus or in the larger group who want to hear His words but not allow them to work in us? Are we eager to be more like Jesus or do we prefer to stay exactly as we are? 

A large crowd of people attended the preaching service where Jesus spoke these words.  Every person in the crowd had a choice to make. What would they do with the words Jesus spoke? It was only those who were willing to be changed by Christ who stayed close. The rest listened, made their choice, and walked away. 

What kind of choice will you make about the words of Christ? Will you let Him change you or insist on staying exactly as you are?  What will you do with Jesus?  

Today, pray that we and our loved ones will long to understand His words and obey. Pray that the days of "walking away" will come to an end and we will stay close by Him. 
Here's the link to last night's post: