While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable.
Jesus was the master storyteller, and he often taught in parables. Sometimes these stories were mysterious and hard to understand. He often used parables that way because he had enemies whose hearts were closed to the teachings of the kingdom of God. They tried to find ways to have him arrested and killed for claiming he was the Son of God, which he was. So he kept some things hidden till the time was right (see Luke 9:21-22). In his parables Jesus avoided direct claims that his enemies could use against him.
But people whose hearts were open to Jesus’ teaching could learn by listening and asking further. Jesus’ disciples did that, as we see in our reading for today, and he explained his teachings to them (and to us).
Jesus also used parables to explain the truth in a way that is hard to forget, once we understand. His parables bring pictures to our minds to help us understand the kingdom—and that prompts us to ask how we can live as God’s people.
For example, what can I learn from the parable of the sower? When I hear the Word of God, am I like the soil on the road, or the rocky soil, or the soil with thorns, or the good soil? Or am I sometimes like each of those kinds of soil? Which do I want to be, to serve God faithfully? How can I be open to receive God’s Word and have God produce abundant fruit through me? (See also John 15:1-17; Galatians 5:22-25.)
God of love, please teach us and help us to live by the ways of the kingdom of heaven. Help us to know your will for our lives. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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