Lord, I pray that I will be informed about your Word, but more than that, I will be transformed by it.
Read Matthew 13:1–17
The Parable of the Sower
13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
- Matthew 13:15 Isaiah 6:9,10 (see Septuagint)
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBe open to all God wants to say to you today, and ask that he would give you a teachable heart.
Why would Jesus speak a message that some people couldn’t or wouldn’t understand (v 13)? This parable describes the context of stubborn unbelief in which Jesus is teaching. The quotation of Isaiah 6:9,10 exposes the problem: these listeners were stuck in their own preconceptions about God and were unwilling to accept Jesus as God’s promised healer (vs 13–15).
In contrast, the disciples have been given – by Jesus – the privileged gift of spiritual insight (v 16). The parable reveals the kingdom to them – and simultaneously brings them into it. As they spend time with Jesus and hear more of his teaching, they slowly begin to accept who he is: the living fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecy (v 17). Jesus himself is both the king and the only way into the kingdom. The challenge for us today is not to settle complacently for familiar words and our own narratives, but to accept Jesus’ own revelation of who he is. As we do so, we can trust that Jesus, through his Holy Spirit, will bring fresh insight and a saving knowledge of himself to our hearts and minds.
Like the crowds gathered on the shore of Galilee catching Jesus’ words floating across the water from the boat, lean in. Listen to him. Hear not just the words, but the kingly, healing preacher himself and the heart of God – for you, today.
Father God, help me to be open to change and to recognize the work of the Spirit when it takes place outside the traditions and patterns I’m comfortable with.
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