Productive Soil, Productive Faith #3

  • The Productive hear the word and embrace the word planted in them.

It’s funny, but as I am writing, I reviewed what had been said so far about this parable, none of us who did the teaching took the time to define what the word was that was being sown. What is this word seed in Luke that they heard?

It would be my guess that most of us would consider the word that is being taught to be the gospel message of Christ. Either a form of Christ is born … Christ is risen … Christ will come again; or God loves you … though you’re a sinner … so Jesus redeemed you through his death and resurrection.

Yet, given the principle message that Jesus spends time advancing in the gospel of Luke is not this narrow recitation of a plan of salvation, we need to look once again at the … what is the word? CONTEXT!

Between the telling of the parable and its explanation are these two verses:

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ – Luke 8:9, 10

In verse 10, Jesus gives us a hint as to the message which is being spread. This message will be understood by some, but misunderstood by others.

Jesus is teaching the secrets of the Kingdom of God. It is a secret not in that it is concealed, but that it is teaching that some will not embrace.

Luke 5 begins: On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God – Luke 5:1

Matthew fills in some details to Luke’s account. Here is what Matthew says about this teaching of the word of God.

Matthew 4:17 says, From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Then verse 23 of Matthew 4: And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. Matthew 4:23

Here is the problem we confront. We often think of the gospel in those limited terms of “Jesus saved me.” But Jesus’ message was much more expansive than that little refrain.

Jesus, when some people wanted him to stay and become their Rabbi, defines his message in Luke 4 by saying: but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43

The term kingdom occurs 31 times in Luke. It is Jesus’ priority message. That message is far bigger than a personal call to salvation.

It is an invocation of Jesus’ kingdom reign. Jesus’ rule has begun. Jesus has taken his place on his throne. God is on the march to restore creation as it was designed to be. The defeat of Satan has already been secured.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 20, we have that infamous millennial rule of Jesus in which Satan is bound. Jesus’ kingdom is protected as Satan’s influence is curtailed. That is today. I know that we look all around us, and we witness the Satan’s influence present in our world. But we must never forget – God is on his throne.

In Matthew 10 as the disciples return from their missionary trip. The disciples are celebrating their ability to cast out demons to which Jesus announces that he saw Satan thrown down from heaven. God’s kingdom is on the advance. God is making the move to win back all of the territory lost to Satan at the fall.

That is the good news. God sits on his throne. His army is mobilized against Satan. And those who are his subjects share in his victory.

If the word is the good news of the kingdom, it is much farther reaching than “Jesus saved me.” The message is “Jesus’ kingdom is here. His reign has begun. Live as his subjects.”

This is the message that God is setting all things straight. If all things are being set straight that includes the lives of his people being put right.

However, one of the dangers we face as believers is that the kingdoms of the world are a far more tangible reality for most of us. Being a citizen of the US is a more conscious reality than our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. We often in our day-to-day lives we are far more likely to make ourselves as home in this world than to be aliens and strangers, ambassadors representing a kingdom which is not of this world.