[Lesson 70: Jesus' Power] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 72: The Bread of Life]

Lesson 71

Two Important Parables

Luke 8; Matthew 13

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last program, we discovered that Jesus the Messiah possessed authority which surpassed the authority of a mere prophet. Jesus was full of the power of God. He was the very Power of God in a human body! That was why He could calm the storm, cast out demons, heal the sick and the blind, and even raise the dead to life!

Today we will continue in the book of the Gospel {Injil}, and hear how the Lord Jesus taught the crowd using parables (stories). Jesus often presented the truth in parables because most people who followed Him around did not really want to know the Word of God. What they wanted was for Jesus to heal their bodies of sickness, but they did not want Him to heal their souls of sin. Also tagging along behind Jesus, like a pack of hyenas, were the religious rulers who listened to Him only to find an opportunity to accuse Him. When they were around, Jesus would speak to the crowd in parables. He would wait until He was alone with His true followers to explain the meaning of the parables.

God wants everyone to know the truth and to be saved, but if our hearts are stubborn, God will not reveal His truth to us. God wants us to seek after the truth, as most people seek after riches! The prophet Solomon wrote, "If you look for the truth as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (Prov. 2:4,5)

How about you? Do you cherish God's truth more than money or any other kind of wealth? Does the true Word of God occupy the most important place in your mind and heart? Perhaps you do not know the true condition of your heart before God. Then listen carefully to the Lord Jesus' Parable of the Sower.

We are reading in the Gospel of Luke, chapter eight. The Scripture says:

(Luke 8) 4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

9His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said,… 11"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."

Do you grasp the meaning of the parable of the sower? In this parable, we see the seed and the soil. What does the seed illustrate? What did the Lord Jesus say? He said: The seed illustrates the true Word of God. How about the soil? What does it illustrate? The soil illustrates the heart of man.

Yes, the Word of God is like good seed, because it is alive and has power to bring forth eternal life and true blessing in your heart, in your life. However, man's heart is like soil which can be very hard and dry. Let us think a little about this. How many kinds of soil do we see in the parable? We saw how the seed fell upon four kinds of soil.

1.) There was seed which fell upon a hard path.

2.) There was that which fell on an area with many rocks.

3.) There was that which fell among thorns. {Lit. in Wolof: a kind of grass with burrs}

4.) There was also that which fell upon good soil.

First, Jesus taught that many in the world have a heart like a hard path upon which people walk. Some people's hearts are as hard as concrete. If a seed falls onto a hard path-what will happen? Will it spring to life and bear fruit? Never! It cannot even begin to take root. People will just walk on it, and the birds of the air will eat it. This is what the hearts of many are like. People with hearts like the hard soil are those who do not pay attention to the Writings of the Prophets and consequently they do not believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. They only care about their own ideas or the traditions of their ancestors. The true Word of God cannot produce life in their hearts, just as a seed which falls on a hard path cannot produce life.

The second kind of soil about which Jesus spoke had many rocks and thin soil. The soil with many rocks illustrates the heart of the one who listens to the Word of God and accepts it immediately with joy, but it does not last, because the Word of God did not really take root in the person's heart. This kind of person says he believes, but when some trial comes or he is persecuted because of the Word of Truth, he turns away from the truth. Many are like this. The Word of God does not have deep roots in their hearts, because they prefer the praise of man to the praise of God. Consequently, the Word of God is worthless to them, just as the seed which fell in the rocky place is worthless.

The third kind of soil was full of thorns. What happens when seed falls among thorns? Will it bear fruit? No, it will not! The thorns will choke it before it can bear fruit. The soil with thorns illustrates the heart of the one who listens to the Word of God, but the cares of the world, and the deception of riches and greed overwhelm him (or her), choking the Word so that it is unproductive. Many children of Adam have hearts like thorny soil. They think: "Yes, one day, I will begin to look into the Writings of the Prophets. When I have time, I will listen to the Word of God, 'insha'a Allah!'" {Arabic: if God wills it}. However, Satan knows very well that such people will never take time to understand the Word of God. Everyday problems and needs will dominate their hearts and minds. They must work, make money, go to the market, buy, sell, study, sleep and so forth. Is this your experience? Is your life so full of needs and concerns that you have never yet taken time to seek after the Truth of God with your whole heart? Remember that one day death will suddenly come and usher you into eternity. On that day you will know what was the truth and what was a lie, but knowing the truth which you neither sought nor obeyed during your life will be of no value to you, because the time of repentance will be gone and you will be eternally lost!

The fourth kind of soil was good soil. The seed that the farmer sowed in the good, well-cultivated soil took root, grew and produced an abundant crop so that the farmer reaped a hundred times more than he had sowed. The good soil that received the seed illustrates the one who hears the Word of God, and retains it in an honest heart, thus producing righteousness and eternal life. God's Word is living and powerful and will produce eternal life and righteousness living in all those who receive it with a humble and honest heart.

That, in brief, is what Jesus taught in the parable of the sower. The Word of God is like the good seed, and our hearts are like hard soil. What must happen before seed can be sown into hard soil? One must plough it, as any farmer knows. Similarly, the heart that pleases God is a broken and contrite heart, prepared to accept the Good Seed of the Word of God. The heart that pleases God is the heart that receives His Word in humility and faith. That is what the Scripture declares when it says: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (James 1:19,21)

What is the condition of your heart? Do you have a humble heart, prepared to accept what God says in the Holy Scriptures through His prophets? Is the Word of God growing in your heart? Or do you have a heart like soil that is hard, rocky and thorny? God's Word is Good Seed, but it will only produce life and blessing in the hearts of those who truly believe it and obey it.

Now let us listen to another "farmer parable" which Jesus spoke to the crowd. It is the Parable of the Weeds. The Scripture says:

(Matt. 13) 24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared. 27The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28'An enemy did this,' he replied. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 29'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." 37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man (That is the Messiah, himself). 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." Amen.

In the parable of the weeds, the Lord Jesus compared the world to a field of wheat. The Sower illustrates Jesus the Messiah. The wheat which grew in the field illustrates those who are children of God because of their faith in the Good News of the Messiah. The enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat is the devil. The weeds are those who do not belong to God because they have not accepted the Good News of the Messiah. The harvest is the Day of Judgment. The wheat stored in the grain house illustrates those who have the right to live in the presence of God forever. However, the weeds which one gathers and burns illustrate those who will be cast into the eternal fire.

Listening friends, how about you? Are you like the wheat? Or like the weeds? Search your heart! The Day of Judgment is coming! The Judge is at the door! Do you have confidence to face the Judge in the Day of Judgment? You need not fear that day if you will believe in your heart the Good News of the One who came to save you from eternal hell. Listen to what Jesus the Messiah declared concerning the Day of Judgment. He said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life!" (John 5:24) Amen!

Thank you for listening. Next time, God willing, we will continue in the Gospel and see how Jesus miraculously fed more than five thousand men with just five loaves of bread and two fish.…

May God give you insight into all that you have heard today as you remember the words of the Lord Jesus:

"He who has ears, let him hear!" (Matt. 13:43)