In my times with God in morning darkness, I've been lingering in Luke's Gospel. It's been 10 weeks and I've only made it to chapter 8. I have been rediscovering the beauty and power of the patterns of Jesus. Here are my thoughts on Jesus' explanation of the four different soils.
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
I am grateful we get the explanation of the parable like the disciples did.
The seed = word of God. Ὁ σπόρος ἐστὶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. “Word” is singular. There is a body of truth that is considered the word of God. Hallelujah.
1. Those along the path = those from whom the devil takes the word. They have heard. There is an external factor, the devil (the birds). He does not want people to believe and be saved (only Luke adds this). There is a spiritual battle that Jesus acknowledges here. And note how he links believing and salvation.
2. Those on the rocky ground = those who believe with no root. They have joy upon receiving the word but because they have no moisture, they have no root. Because they have no root, when the first pressure is applied they are uprooted and fall away. Matthew and Mark elaborate, “when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word.”
3. The seed that fell among the thorns = those choked by worries, riches and pleasures.They have apparently heard and believed. The apparently have deeper roots than the seeds of the rocky ground. But as time goes by (this is only in Luke) the stuff of life (worries, riches, pleasures) suffocates their spiritual life. Matthew and Mark use the phrase “choke the word.” There are many directions for preaching this verse.
Cares/Worries = those daily responsibilities and uncertainties that we don’t turn over to the Lord.
Riches = our persistent pursuit of acquiring and maintaining what we acquire.
Pleasures = our constant desire for instant gratification, that which will provide temporary soothing.
4. Seed on the good soil = those who bear fruit. There is an indication that certain hearts are better prepared to receive the word and retain it. The NIV says there is something already noble and good about that heart. The Authorized Version says, “hearing the word, they hold it fast in an honest and good heart.” This makes sense if God is the one who makes that heart honest and good upon receiving the word.
This person is diligent in cultivating and retaining and nurturing that word. Just like the farmer.
The natural result…over some period of time…is fruitfulness. Luke says that a crop will be produced. Matthew and Mark say that there will be multiplication 30, 60 and 100 fold.
Don’t allow the worries of this world to slow me down. The solution… turn over my concerns to you.
Don’t allow the desire to acquire (and maintain) drive me. Be generous instead with whatever God provides.
Don’t choose the path of instant gratification.
These are the things that separate the third and the fourth soils.