And a great crowd having come together, and those according to their cities were coming upon Him, He spoke through a parable: "The Sower went out to sow His Seed. And in the sowing of It, some fell along the pathway and was trampled, and the birds of the heavens consumed it up. And others fell upon the rocks, and growing, it withered through the lack of having water. And others fell in the midst of thorns, and the thorns grew up, choking it. And others fell upon the perfect earth and grew, making fruit a hundred-fold." Having said these things, He called out, "The one having ears to hear–let that one hear!" And His disciples were questioning Him, what this parable might be. And He said, "To you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to the rest–in parables, in order that seeing, they may not see, and hearing, they may not understand. And the parable is this: The Seed is the Word of God. Those along the pathway are those, having heard, then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their heart, so that they don't believe and be saved. And those upon the rocks–they are whoever hears, with joy to receive the Word, yet these have no root, who for a season believe, yet in a season of temptation–to fall away. And the one into the thorns fallen, these are the ones, having heard, and on cares and riches and pleasures of life they go, choked, & they do not mature. And the one on the perfect earth, these are the ones in heart, good and noble, having heard the Word they hold it fast and bear fruit, standing firm.
Most people get this story of the Sower completely wrong, even though Jesus explains it! But that's by design, according to Jesus. Most folks hear this parable, but don't understand it...probably because they don't know the rest of the bible. It's a story that most hearers try to comprehend as though it is an earthly tale, although it makes no worldly sense whatsoever. No farmer would ever be so careless and foolish to scatter his precious seeds willy nilly. But that's God's plan anyway!
To some are given the ability to understand this parable, by faith. You are just such believers, to whom are revealed the mysteries of God's kingdom in this heavenly story. But for you to comprehend the point of this parable, it is necessary for you to recognize what this Seed is all about, and how it is that this planted Seed is the very Word of God which bears much fruit in you even now!
The notion of a Seed has been around since the beginning, from the very first book of the bible. Eve's Seed was promised to one day come, so that he could strike the death-blow on that snake-in-the-grass tempter, once and for all. That same Seed was also promised to Abraham, as the Seed through Whom all the nations would one day be blessed. This Seed is but one singular Seed, whom St. Paul identifies plainly to the Galatians as Christ Himself. Jesus is the Seed planted in you!
"But Pastor, doesn't Jesus explain the seed of the parable as the word of God?" Indeed He does, as does St. Peter in his 1st epistle, when he reminds us we are born again of the seed of the Word of God. But just what is the Word of God? Biblicists among us might say that it is but *holy scripture*. But biblicism is not for us, for we, like Ferris Beuller, don't believe in *isms*. The Words of God are indeed those of the Bible, but the Word of God, singular, is something different, something more...
St. Peter gives us a clue when he describes this Seed, this Word as a living Word, one which cannot perish, but which abides forever. Isaiah describes this same Word as coming down from heaven to refresh the earth like rain, and then to return back again, having accomplished its purpose. This is a Word that is not simply letters forming sentences on the printed page. This Word has personality, and does the very work of God Himself! This Word is the Seed of Eve & Abraham, Jesus Himself!
As John says in the opening chapter of his gospel, the Word was with God, and God was the Word. Then the Word also became flesh and tabernacled among us. Jesus is that living, imperishable Word who became man to suffer and die for you at the cross. He shed His blood for you, so that your blood would never have to be shed in payment for your sins; He gave up His life for you, so that your life would never have to be given as forfeit for your iniquities.
Through word and sacraments this Word is planted in your good and noble heart. Not that your heart was very good or noble beforehand; it wasn't. Jesus' Own Spirit entered into your heart to cleanse it of sin in baptism, to work faith therein so that you could hold fast to Him, clinging to Him for dear life–life eternal. He keeps you standing firm in the faith to everlasting life. You have ears. You are blessed to hear the Word. For the Word is Jesus, God's Son, the Beloved...you listen to Him! Amen.
Hymns for today from LSB:
#577 Almighty God, Your Word is Cast
#823 May God Bestow on Us His Grace
#921 On What Has Now Been Sown