(click on caret on the right to listen to the sermon)
Series: What Did He Say?
(Jesus’ Speeches as Reported by Matthew)
Today: It’s All About the Soil
Matthew 13:1-10, 18-23
Rev. Laura Brewster
Introduction. Today we continue our series of messages based on the five sermons Jesus preached (according
to the book of Matthew). Today is week 3 of our series, so we’ll look at Jesus’ third sermon. Jesus’third
sermon includes only parables. Parables are short stories that challenge a listener to decode a message or a
truth. Some parables are easy to decode. Other leave us confused and asking, “What did he say?” The Parable
of the Sower confused the disciples so much they asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
Jesus Is The Sower – An Extravagant Sower. The first thing to understand is that Jesus is the Sower in the
parable. The seeds he scatters – or sows – are his message and his love. When we realize that, we quickly see
that Jesus is an extravagant Sower. He is not cautious or careful about whom he approaches. Jesus seeks to
share his message, love, and life with everyone, whether they are likely to accept what he has to offer or not.
Jesus reaches out with careless abandon. Why? Because all are loved and treasured by God. No exceptions.
We Are the Soil. When Jesus explains the meaning of this parable to his confused disciples the focus shifts
from the extravagant Sower to the soil; we are the soil. The parable has already taught us that Jesus offers his
words and his love and his life to everyone he encounters. The same “seed” is offered to everyone. But the
“seed” does not take root in everyone. Whether the seed takes root and develops into a healthy plant depends
upon the soil. In other words, Jesus offers his message to all persons, but that message is embraced and
nurtured only by persons with receptive hearts.
What Type Of Soil Are You? / What Is The State Of Your Heart?
What type of soil are you? Do you have a heart filled with hard soil (a heart be hardened toward God)? If so,
what can you do to soften your heart? Write your answer here:
Does your heart have rocky soil (a superficial faith)? Is so, what is one spiritual practice you can take up that
will help your faith grow deeper, richer, stronger? Write your answer here:
Does your heart have weeds (a heart filled with competing affections and demands). If so, what is one “weed”
you can pull out? Write your answer here:
Or is your heart filled with good soil (a heart receptive to Jesus)? If so, your faith will grow. This faith will
not be a purely personal faith though. As you grow in faith, Jesus will ask that you help him sow seeds. That
is, Jesus will ask you to share his message of love with the people you encounter. So, you will be both seed
and the sower’s helper. Where can you sow a seed today? Write your answer here:
A closing thought, some of us have been working, praying, loving and scattering seeds in the name of Jesus.
And yet, we have not seen any results. Maybe the spouse you have invited to church has yet to accept your
offer. Maybe the neighbor or friend you have invited to a mission project or a Bible study has yet to say yes.
But the parable reminds us that our job is simply to keep sowing – to keep sharing Jesus’ love with others.
We can leave the rest up to God.