Thank you, God, for the body of Christ, where every part has invaluable things to offer.
Read LUKE 8:1-15
The Parable of the Sower
8 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
- Luke 8:10 Isaiah 6:9
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.
‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’1
Today’s reading focuses on the parable of the four soils, which represent four kinds of people and their responses to God’s message. It is worth thinking carefully about which kind you are. Are you a ‘path’ person, refusing to believe God’s message at all? Are you a ‘rocky soil’ person, eagerly believing the message but never getting around to doing anything about it? Are you a ‘thorn patch’ person, with no room in your life for God because of life’s worries and the lure of materialism? How could you become more of a ‘good soil’ person, who follows Jesus no matter what and bears a harvest as a result? These are indeed challenging images to ponder.
Before telling this parable, Luke includes a surprising aside about those who are following Jesus. The twelve are with him, along with Mary Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuza, Susanna, and ‘many others’ (v 3). Not only are these women traveling with the twelve, but they are supporting them out of their own means.
One of the characteristic themes of Luke’s gospel and Acts is his emphasis on the role of women in the ministry of Jesus and the early church. He wants to highlight the way Jesus lifts women up and empowers them to be partners in ministry and fellowship. In Jewish culture, women were forbidden from learning from rabbis; this was an exclusively male world. Yet here we see women depicted as part of Jesus’ group of disciples, inverting social norms by traveling with him and supporting his ministry with their own money. This shows how God’s kingdom not only lifts up the lowly and the marginalized but empowers them to become full participants and fellow ministers. This episode and many others in Luke and Acts remind us that everyone is invited to participate and minister in his name.
Maybe you feel excluded, or you’ve been told you cannot fully contribute to the church’s ministry. What does this reading mean for you?
As I read your Word, Lord God, open my heart to its truths, increase my faith, and build my vision for serving you.
1 Gal 3:28, TNIV
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