by Elaine Pierce
Jesus often taught in parables. I remember hearing this definition of a parable in Vacation Bible School: an earthly story with a heavenly message. Yes, these fictitious stories encourage us to live a moral life, but that wasn't Jesus' main goal. If it was, he would have explained the parables to his audience, and we see in this passage that he intentionally obscured their meaning (Matthew 13:11-15). Jesus is not just encouraging us to be good. He is pointing us to truth, because he IS truth.
Jesus shares the Parable of the Sower with the crowd, but he does not explain it to them. The disciples are confused. Jesus, you are missing a great opportunity! This is a huge crowd, and you can share the good news with them. Why not make it crystal clear that you are the fulfillment of the scriptures? Jesus explains to his disciples, those who have left family, jobs and friends, that the crowd is not ready to hear; they are not ready to understand.
Then he goes on to explain the parable to his closest followers. (Matthew 13: ,18-23). He continues to use parables as he gets closer to Jerusalem, as his time to die on the cross nears.
So, dear readers, which group are you in? Are you ready to receive God's truth, or are you part of the crowd, wondering about Jesus but not ready to fully embrace him? The elite of Jesus' day rejected the truth. The downtrodden, the weak, the poor - they embraced Jesus. Are your roots going deep into the soil? Are you hearing God's word, understanding it, and producing fruit? As we walk through the season of Lent, I pray that all of us seek to know the Lord better, to separate good from evil, and to seek to serve him in gratitude and grace.
Lord, I want easy answers, and instead you tell me to follow you. You tell me that when I follow you, I will find rest. Instead of labor and toil and try to succeed on my own. Help me to take your yoke and learn from you - your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Amen.