Crowds continued to follow Jesus wherever he went. On this particular day, Jesus sat in a boat to teach the crowd surrounding him. He shared stories which are called parables so people could understand his teachings easier. Most people, like myself, were common and didn’t have the learning like the scholars, rabbis and priests. Today he shared several stories about seeds and harvesting to explain the kingdom of heaven.
I am only going to share two of the stories as I remember these the best. The first is about a farmer scattering some seed across a field. Some fell on a footpath, others on shallow, rocky soil, some among thorns and others on fertile soil. Birds came and ate the seed on the footpath. The ones planted in the shallow soil wilted under the hot sun and died. The seeds among the thorns were choked and died. Finally, the ones on fertile soil grew very well, producing so much it was as much as one hundred times more than planted.
I understood how this happens as I have seen Father planting seeds in our garden. Birds love to come and eat up the seeds that don’t go into the soil. Every week or so, Father, my brothers and sisters and I would help to pull out the thorns and weeds so the seeds can grow. But the ones which were planted on good soil grew very well and we had a good harvest.
I thought this was good teaching, but what does this mean. Thankfully, Jesus explains the parable. He said the seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the kingdom of God without understanding it. The adversary comes along to steal the seed planted in the heart. No one was there to help explain the message to them. Then there was seed on the shallow and rocky soil. These represent people who hear the message, receive it with great joy, but their roots do not grow deep, so they end up falling away as soon as problems arise or they are persecuted. The seeds that fell upon the thorns are like people who hear God’s word but the message is strangled by the worries of the world and the desire for wealth. Sadly no fruit is produced. The final seeds that were planted in the good and fertile soil represent those who hear and understand God’s Word. They end up producing as much as was planted in their hearts plus much more, and they begin to share those seeds with others.
Oh, how I pray I do not lose the joy of knowing Jesus. I want my roots to grow deep so when storms of life come, I am not crushed under the pressure. I want to understand God more and more. I want to learn, I want to grow, I want others to know about Jesus and his message of heaven.
The second parable Jesus shared was about wheat and weeds. This is another farmer story. A farmer planted seeds in a field. During the night the enemy planted weeds in the field within the wheat. We call these weeds tares. The crops began to grow well together. The workers saw the weeds and asked where they came from.
The farmer explained the seeds came from the enemy who wants to destroy all the crops. They asked if they should pull up the weeds and the farmer said no. If they tried to, they would pull up the wheat as well. The farmer told them to let them grow until the harvest. The harvesters then will sort out the weeds, put them into bundles and burn them. The wheat then will be stored in the barn.
I have seen this happen so many times on my friends’ farms. It can be very frustrating to see tares growing up with the wheat, but at harvest time, there is usually plenty of wheat left to store. I wondered what Jesus was trying to get us to understand with this parable. So I stuck around when everyone else went their separate ways. Jesus went into a house nearby and explained the parable to His close disciples.
He tells them that He as the Son of Man is the farmer planting the good seed. The field is the world. The good seed represents the people of the kingdom, those who follow Jesus. The weeds are those who belong to the adversary. Satan has planted weeds among the wheat. The harvest will be at the end of the world and the harvesters are God’s angels.
Just as the weeds are sorted and thrown into the fire, it will be the same at the end of the world. Jesus will send his angels who will remove everything that causes sin and evil and throw them into the fiery furnace where weeping and gnashing of teeth will be. The righteous ones will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. We should listen to his words and understand.
I do pray I will be counted among the faithful. I don’t want to fall into the trap of the adversary. I desire to shine like the sun. Sheol- death, forever death, weeping and gnashing of teeth is not something I want to be a part of for eternity. The sound of it is horrible.
Oh Jesus, I really want to be in your kingdom. Keep the adversary away from me. Help me to hide under the shadow of the Almighty. Cover me under your wings.
For further study:
Matthew 13:1-28, 36-43; Mark 4:1-20, 26-29; Luke 8:4-15