The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Julian. Lazy extroverted introvert with an indulgent sweet tooth. Loves a good layered dad joke for many years longer than officially allowed to. Blessed with 20/20 hindsight and in denial about the aging process.

Luke 8:1-15

The parable of the sower

8 After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.'

When he said this, he called out, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.'

9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

‘"though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand."[a]

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.

Reflection

This passage has one of the very well-known parables of Jesus' ministry – The Parable of the Sower.

Detail is given on the different types of soil that seed lands on and how fruitfully (or not) they grow and produce a crop. Jesus provides 2 explanations to his disciples; why he uses parables in His teachings, and the meaning of the parable. The parallels drawn are clear in that the nature of our hearts, and how we interact with circumstances will determine if/how His word is retained, nourished, and produce bounty in our lives and in others.

Depending on how much in the mood I am for honestly interrogating my life – I am loathe to admit how much this parable has me feeling inadequate [since first hearing as a child, and subsequently].

I think it should not just be for measurement but also one for encouraging. For too long my reflex mental reaction is to hold the poker face and refrain from doing any internal forensics beyond a faint cursory sweep. Whilst trying [and failing ] to reassure myself that on balance I'm a fairly okay, albeit stubborn, work-in-progress.

However, this time – my attention was drawn to verse 9: His disciples asked him what this parable meant.

"What does it mean?" And what landed for me is that for most of my life I have listened to reply, rather than listen to understand. This tends to play out with me interpreting things to make it fit what I want to hear, my preconceived ideas, or a specific bias I have.

Instead of putting aside all of me, and humbly asking Jesus for understanding.

So how does this land for you? How often do you listen to reply, and how often do you listen to understand?

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