Year 2 Day 84
Read - Mark 4:1-20
Message - Alan Burke
I’m going to start with where I normally would end, because today’s passage is one that we are all so familiar with. We’ve heard it in Sunday school, harvest services, preachers preach on this and the question is usually asked “what kind of soil are you” and the application usually revolves around that. Here’s the thing though, by my nature, by your nature, “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10), “There is no one who does good” Ps 14:1-3 “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer 17:9), “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). I could go on here and just take us to scripture, reminding us that by our very nature we and our hearts are not good, because of that I’m not going to ask you which soil are you, because in our sinfulness we all think we have good hearts and obviously the good soil but that is not the case. It’s not the case, you might recoil against that but we inherently sinful, but here in the parable of the sower we learn what changes that.
So the passage, a parable, a parable of the sower, familiar to us. In verse 1 we are given the scene, idillic isn’t it. We’re told he was teaching many things in parables (2) and then Jesus tells them to “Listen to the parable of the sower”. Let’s think about this sower, what on earth is he doing, worst farmer of the year award for this sower. Like who throws three quarters of the seed on the path, on poor ground, and among the thorns. What was the fella thinking!? No farmer would do this, they prepare the ground, they work hard at it, I imagine anyone with some sense in the crowd shaking their head, muttering, saying to each other ‘this fella knows nothing’, ‘such a townie’, maybe even a cry "go back to where you came from city boy”. If parable were called ‘the parable of the silly farmer who didn’t know much about sowing' it might be more realistic. What then is this parable about? Well look to verse 11 because this is about the secret of the kingdom of God.
This parable is about the secret of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God that Jesus had come proclaiming, remember how he was declaring “the time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the gospel” (1:15). Well Jesus is the sower in this parable, he was as the Son of God doing the work of God in sowing. For in Old Testament sowing is a metaphor for God’s work, God had promised to sow Israel to begin her renewal (Jer. 31:27–28; Ezek. 36:9; Hos. 2:21–23; 4 Ezra 8:6; 9:31). When we understand this then we begin to understand that this parable is concerned with the coming of the Kingdom of God, it is God who is at the centre of what is happening here in this parable thought God the Son, Jesus, the sower is sowing and what is he sowing is the word (14). The word of Jesus was and is heard by many but ultimately because our hearts our sinful by nature we cannot change the soil of our hearts, it requires the work of God the Spirit within us, that is what God promised to do to his people in the book of Ezekiel, (11:19) "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”. To those who are give a new heart they are like the good soil that experiences thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold yield, a heart that is transformed all through the word of God.
Q88 What are the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to usthe benefits of redemption?
The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation. (Matt. 28:19–20, Acts 2:42,46–47)