Summary: In the Scripture passage for this sermon Jesus was explaining the strange and mysterious way in which the Kingdom of God was arriving in people’s hearts.
“What’s the Buzz? Tell Me Whats a Happening”
We live in dark times, and yet You and I have something which the darkness cannot overcome.
At the same time, we are surrounded by flesh and blood persons just like ourselves who are mourning, who feel they are losing life’s battle.
Within the homes surrounding our church, people are hurting: physically, mentally, spiritually.
Teenagers are turning to drugs.
Adults are being choked by the worries of trying to put food on the table.
And many, many folks are isolated from any kind of supportive community, such as East Ridge United Methodist Church.
We gotta do something!!!
What are we to do?
How can we help?
This morning we see that Jesus is travelling from one town and village to another, “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God,” and yes, the twelve disciples were with Him as were a number of women.
This crazy looking group would have been every bit as strange, from a first-century Palestinian point of view, as the story from last Sunday where a woman let her hair down and kissed Jesus’ feet!
We can only imagine the looks this motley crew band of followers would get, and the things people might say about such a group!
But the crowds were gathering and flocking.
God was doing something.
God was offering something that people needed and desired.
Lives were being transformed.
Community was being built!!!
What was God doing?
The people wanted to know!!!
And Jesus was making sure that everyone had the opportunity to be a part.
So He travelled to the small towns.
Places like East Ridge.
He went to where the people were.
He didn’t just wait for them to come to Him.
And on one such occasion Jesus told the Parable of the Sower.
I think it’s fair to say that if Jesus were telling this story today, He might well include some other categories as well.
What about seeds that were planted in good soil but were ruined by acid rain?
What about the plants that were coming up nicely but were bulldozed in order to make room for a new road or building?
But of course, what Jesus was doing was not making comments on farming problems.
He was explaining the strange and mysterious way in which the Kingdom of God was arriving in people’s hearts.
Suffice it to say, many of the folks listening were expecting something big and obvious to happen:
For a new king to overthrow Herod…
…a new legitimate priest to oust the current high priest…
… and most assuredly for a Jewish movement to get rid of the hated pagans who were their ultimate masters.
But none of this was happening, at least not in the way they thought it would happen.
So, in this parable, Jesus was letting the people in on what God was actually doing!
If we take a few steps back, we can see the sort of folks Jesus is talking about in this parable.
Here are the villagers in the synagogue at Nazareth, hearing Jesus’ sermon on Isaiah, but unwilling to accept what He’s saying.
The Word is trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air are snatching it away.
Here is the Pharisee at a table: he has invited Jesus to dine with him, and obviously wants to hear what Jesus is about, but what Jesus does and says is so unexpected and shocking that he tries to distance himself from it as far as he can.
The seed has landed in among the stones of his prejudice, and nothing can get near to nurture it and allow it to grow.
Here are the people of “this generation” who have other things on their minds, and don’t want a prophet like John or Jesus.
The seed has landed among thorns, and is being choked.
…wait a minute…
Here is a Gentile centurion who believes that Jesus has the authority to command even serious illnesses to depart.
Here is Levi the tax-collector leaving his shady business and following Jesus.
Here is the unnamed woman whose extravagant behavior shows that she has experienced God’s forgiveness and new life deep within her heart!
Here are many, many, many more who show that the Word Jesus is speaking is producing fruit!!!
Talk about transformation!
Talk about a radical overthrow of the dark powers of evil!!!
Talk about extremely difficult lives and situations that are being turned upside down and right side up!!!
And all this is happening because the Word of God is being scattered, and there are people whose hearts accept it, retain it, and by a faith journey of perseverance produce a crop!!!
What about our hearts?
How much mature growth, how much fruit is the Word of God producing in our own lives?