Read: Luke 8:4-21
The parable of the sower, a lamp on a stand, and Jesus’ mother and brothers — all carefully crafted to help us understand how to apply the Word of God.
Yesterday we talked about Jesus as an itinerant preacher, moving from town to town. Today we read some highlights of His preaching with an emphasis on not just hearing the Word, but doing something with that information.
Jesus tells the parable of the sower, but the disciples are confused, they don’t understand the teaching:
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. Luke 8:9
Kudos to the disciples for having the courage to raise their hand and ask the question that was likely on the minds of everyone. Jesus rebukes them with words from Isaiah, but clearly states the meaning for all to hear (Luke 8:11-15).
Hear With Your Heart
The Word is not something written on scrolls for the elite to access and consume, it is spoken for all to understand. The trick is we need to hear with our hearts, not just the auditory ear to brain function. Notice that the first example suggests the devil steals the Word from our hearts (see the featured image for this post). It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s in our heads, but once it gets into the heart, now it’s a precious commodity worth keeping.
the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Luke 8:12
Some hear and are moved, the Word sinking into their hearts, but before it takes root it is ripped away. This is an incredibly sad scenario.
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. Luke 8:15
Does this mean we should only speak to those with noble hearts? I don’t think so. I think Jesus is helping us to understand that as we travel about preaching the good news some people will get it, but most will not be ready. He’s encouraging us and depressing us at the same time.
It’s interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t say anything about holding hands or working really hard to convince those on the path, on rocky ground, or in the thorns to hear with their hearts. We don’t change the message for those who refuse to listen. The Word is the Word. Period. Free will is free to choose. Judgment is for God to invoke, not us.
Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Luke 8:18
Our role is to proclaim the good news without shame and without reservation. When we do, we should be prepared for rejection, but that must not deter our responsibility to speak the word.
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
Jesus includes the good soil group in His family, crazy stuff!
He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:21
For those who have heard with the heart: Welcome to the family!