Summary: A sermon for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 10 The Sower Parable
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
The Parable is the familiar Parable of the Sower. How full of imagery the story is.
The crowds are so large that Jesus gets into a boat so they can see him while he teaches.
We can see Jesus in a boat teaching and then we can picture in our mind’s eye what he describes.
We can see the Sower of the seeds walking over his lands, sowing seeds by hand scattering them and they fall where they might. Some seeds fall on the hard well beaten path and lies there and the birds come and eat them up.
Other seeds fall on rocky ground, where they do not have much soil, and in that warm soil they spring up quickly. Yes the soil is shallow because of the rocks beneath it. For the rock conducts heat and warms quickly. When the sun rises - and this is the strong Mediterranean sun of Israel, they are scorched; and since they have no root, they wither away.
Still other seeds fall among the thorns, and the thorns grow up and choke them.
Some seeds do fall on fertile soil and bring forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
So Jesus teaches from the boat and he ends Let anyone with ears listen!"
Then Jesus leaves the people and goes on with the disciples and this part is not part of our lesson, but the disciples ask Jesus why he teaches in parables and he says that the people are not ready to hear what he has to say.
But then he says to the disciples that they are ready so he says:
Here then the parable of the Sower.
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; but the person has no root, and the word only lasts for awhile and when trouble or persecution arises because of the word that person immediately falls away.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the promise of wealth chocks the word, and it yields nothing.
But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
The Word of God is something powerful to behold. Jesus says he sows the seeds in our hearts because He loves us. It is through His word this day and each day we hear or read that word that he opens the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He sows the word so that we might know the love that the Father has for each of us. He sows that He might claim each of us for eternal life.
In this sense this is a parable of hope, of grace and of mercy. It is a parable about the love of God through Jesus to all people everywhere. He sows, period.
It is like the man in the following:
In 1918, a notorious criminal named Tokichi Ichii was sentenced to hang.
While in prison in Tokyo, he was sent a New Testament by two missionaries, Miss West and Miss McDonald. After a visit from Miss West, he began to read the story of Jesus’ and crucifixion. When he reached the point where Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," something "clicked" within his heart. He wrote:
"I stopped: I was stabbed to the heart, as if by a five-inch nail. What did this verse reveal to me? Shall I call it the love of the heart of Christ? Shall I call it His compassion? I do not know what to call it.
I only know that with an unspeakably grateful heart, I believed. "People will say that I must have a very sorrowful heart because I am daily awaiting the execution of the death sentence. This is not the case. I feel neither sorrow nor distress nor any pain. Locked up in a prison cell six feet by nine in size, I am infinitely happier than I was in the days of my sinning when I did not know God."
When Tokichi stood on the scaffold with the noose around his neck, with great earnestness he spoke his last words: "My soul, purified, today returns to the City of God."
The word was sown into this man’s life and he was changed.