Summary: Many people have bullet-proof armor around their hearts - so that God’s truth simply bounces off. Learn about how to have a soft heart and fertile soil to grow God’s truth
Have you ever heard the expression: “they only hear what they want to hear”? Its true – and its also very dangerous. Today Jesus is going to say things that just bounce off the hearers – the crowds, and His disciples. It involves accepting the truth – and in trusting the Lord at His word. I want us to focus on our own hearts – how porous are our hearts to hearing truth from the Lord?
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 "Listen! 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, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."
9 Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
And here, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6:9-10
"’they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’"
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus seems to almost be hiding the truth from people? That’s because if someone doesn’t want to believe they will not understand – but if their heart is soft towards the Lord then He can reveal the truth to them.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD,
Here’s how The Message translates this;
Mark 4:12 Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven."
Or another way to say it: “The last thing they want is to repent and be forgiven.” Jesus is preaching the truth to a people who have no intention of accepting it.
Next it almost seems as if Jesus is chiding His disciples – but I think He’s saying “think!”
13 Then Jesus said to them, "Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 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. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
I think Jesus is really describing two kinds of people here – the ones that don’t take the gospel to heart and truly give their lives to Jesus – and those who do.
He describes what happens when someone hears the gospel –
2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The Word of God just kind of bounces off of them. That’s evidence of a hard heart. God can soften a hard heart, but if the person refuses to let God’s truth affect them, He can also harden them more – like Pharaoh. These people are simply not interested in anything but the sound of their own opinions.
These are people who may latch on to the gospel in a crisis or because it is the “in” thing to do – but they don’t really belong to Him, and haven’t trusted Jesus with their life – it is association of convenience. With these folks seemingly “bad” things in a worldly sense take priority over God.