The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Hannah-Rivkah Perkin. Hannah-Rivkah works in the refugee sector and has recently re-discovered pilates.
 

Matthew 13:1-23

The parable of the sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.'

10 The disciples came to him and asked, 'Why do you speak to the people in parables?'

11 He replied, 'Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

'"You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."[a]

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 'Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.'

Reflection

In verse two, we read that 'such large crowds gathered round' Jesus that he got into a boat and sat in it as he taught and spoke to the people on the shore. Sound travels particularly well over water, and Jesus was using the water to amplify his voice so that people could hear him. Jesus wanted to make himself heard 2000 years ago, and God stills wants us to hear him today. So if God is speaking to you today, what do you think he is saying? God speaks to us through verses and stories in the bible. How is God using this parable to speak to you? Or perhaps God would like to use other stories in the book of Matthew to speak to you. Perhaps he wants to reassure you that he is a kind father who likes to give good gifts to his children i.e. you (Matt 7:7-11). Or maybe he would like you to 'pray for those who persecute you' (Matt 5:44). Perhaps, he wants to encourage you to tell someone you know about the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection (Matt 10:27). God speaks to us in different ways and in a way that we understand. As such, he also speaks through paintings, during moments of silence, or in the stillness of your heart in a crowded supermarket or hospital. God wants to make himself heard and he wants you to hear and understand what he is saying. Pray Lord, please help me to see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and understand with my heart. Would your words help me to heal; heal the physical damage life has done to my body, and heal the damage sin has done to my heart and the hearts of people around the world.

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