Sermon Notes - July 16
Introduction: Jesus gives a very ‘folksy’ parable that we can easily visualize. He tells of a sower who scatters seed upon the ground arbitrarily. The question is as a parable what does the seed symbolize? What about the sower and the ground? Finally what about the harvest? In order to understand this parable it is vital to know just what each item in the parable means. The first thing recognized is the sower. The sower is not identified other than by what he does. The brilliance of Jesus’ parables is that they are at once easy to understand and yet because he chooses not to identify exactly what he is talking about leaves open the question just what is meant by the parable. I believe the sower is Jesus, that we are the seeds, and that the earth that we are planted on are our own souls which will ultimately lead to our producing a great harvest for the kingdom of souls won for the kingdom.
I). Jesus is in Capernaum and he goes to the sea shore in order to teach and so many people gather around him he is forced to get into a boat in order to teach them. He had just been teaching them about bearing good fruit, his death and resurrection, a warning against complacency, and those who truly are the family of Jesus.
II). After he tells the parable of the sower Jesus then states the purpose of the parables which is overtly to prevent people from understanding and entering the kingdom. He then goes on to explain this parable to his inner circle of disciples so that they will understand. Personally I understand why the person who designed the lectionary left out that part of the reading for today. At best it is troubling.
III). What at first blush seems like such a simple and straightforward parable begins to take on many different nuances. The full context of this parable indicates that we have some control over the kind of fruit we bear and how we will serve God. Will we be faithful stewards of the gifts God has given to us and share them with others realizing that all we have comes from God and our job is to give what we have away to others. We do this by having first taken care to hear God’s Word and prepare a place where it can grow and be nurtured. How do you take care of your soul? Do you have a spiritual advisor? How often do you pray and take time for Bible Study? All of us need time to be with God and to listen to what he is inviting us to do.