Sunday, July 13, 2014

Proper 10A Gospel: Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23

In that day Jesus, having gone out of the house was sitting along the sea; And great crowds came together to Him, so that, having entered a boat, He sat down. And all the crowd was standing upon the shore. And He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Look, the seed-planter went out to plant seeds. And in his seed planting, first, some fell along the path, and the birds came and consumed it. But next, some fell upon rocky places where it didn't have much earth; and immediately it sprouted; on account of not having much soil and the sun having risen, it was scorched and on account of not having root, it dried up. But then some fell upon the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it off. But finally some fell upon the excellent earth and gave fruit; some 100, others 60, and others 30. The one having ears--Hear!" 
Clearly, Jesus reveals His heavenly Father to be a crazy farmer in this story, at least by this world's standards. Anybody knows you put seeds into the best soil. But God the Father plants in the road, on rocks, and in thorny weed-patches. Non Christians read this story and figure our God is a whack-a-doodle. But you know better. You are believers in Christ Jesus, and you receive this story of Jesus by faith, trusting that God the Father knows exactly what He is doing, and that it's the best thing!

Now Jesus makes it plain that this isn't a story about seed-planting, exactly. It's about God the Father placing the seed of His word into people. But you also realize that you are not ordinary Christians. You are not generic protestants who hear "Word of God" and immediately think only of the "Bible". No, you are Lutherans, and you know that the promised "Seed" of Eve, and of Abraham is Jesus. You know that Jesus is the Word who became flesh and tabernacles with you. This seed/Word is Jesus planted.
You know also just how Jesus is planted in you. And just in case you forgot, Jesus reminds you. He says "The one having ears–hear!" Do you have ears? Then let those ears God created do their thing and listen as Jesus splains it to you Lucy, just what this parable means for you. This story is about people with ears, just like you. Some just won't listen. Some listen for a time, then stop for various reasons. But you keep on listening to Jesus; or at least you know you should. Sometimes you don't..
The first ear-problem is those whose ears work perfectly fine, but they refuse to listen. You are like this at times. You tune out your pastor on that topic from God that you don't care for. But there is grave danger in this, pun intended, for those who don't gain the insight God gives, lose its benefits! Those who think, "this message from Jesus just isn't for me" forfeit its blessings! They are like those for whom Jesus comes into one ear, but then right out the other. The devil has snatched such folks.
Though you stop your ears from hearing Jesus at times, God places His only-begotten Son in your ear anyway! Not because God is foolish, but because He is patient and persistent. Again and again God the Father offers His only-begotten Son to go right into you ear through the sacrament of Holy Absolution. "He who hears you, hears Me!" Jesus says. When your pastor proclaims your sin forgiven in the name of you Triune God, it is a sure and certain as if Jesus were speaking it into your ears Himself!
The second ear-problem is described with the next two sorts who start off hopefully, but don't last. These are the kinds of folk who shouted "Hosanna!" on Palm Sunday, only to join in on the "Crucify Him"s of Good Friday. You are this way at times yourself, believing while it is convenient, but wimping out when it comes at the cost of suffering a cross for your faith. You can be a fickle Christian, going as the wind blows, believing in fair weather, but falling away in bad. Worries & distractions make you fruitless.

Though God knows you doubt like Thomas or deny Him when the going gets tough like Peter, God plants the Word/Seed Jesus firmly into you anyway! Is God nuts? No. He is love, and kindly disposed to you even when you aren't so toward Him. This is why He baptized you, to cleanse you of your sinful fears and former unfaithfulness. He gives you Jesus at the font, to bless you with His death & rising, that each day, by baptismal repentance, sinful you drown & die, and new you arise to new life in Him!
God the Father gives the Word/Seed Jesus to die for the unloving & unfaithful because He wants all to be saved & come to know the truth. By the gift of faith, you have come to know Jesus your Savior, that by the Holy Spirit you keep on listening, keep on trusting in Jesus Who gave Himself up to death, the Seed planted in the tomb so that He might bear fruit. You are that fruit of Jesus. He makes you fruitful by His body given & blood shed for your forgiveness. He bears His Spirit's fruit in you now!

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