Why I Believe – Psalms 8

While living in Green Valley, Arizona many years ago, I got to experience the wonder of God’s creation in ways not experienced here in the Midwest.  In our town there were “Light Ordinances” so that nothing impacted the view of the stars.  We lived at the base of Madera Canyon and the majesty we saw everyday from sunrise to sunset was incredible.  Our favorite family activity was to sit in the hot tub at night and gaze at the millions of stars overhead.  We couldn’t help but be astounded at the hundreds of thousands of tiny pinpricks lighting up the sky.

Who is God that He created all the majestic creation and yet He still cares about me…and you?!?!  

In Psalm 8, David declares the Heavens and the earth Majestic!

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalms 8:4

David would have been able to sit under the stars nightly and experience the majesty of God as he kept an eye on his sheep.  

My awe and belief in God is renewed when I take time as David did and gaze up at the sky in the early morning or the setting sun in the evening.  I look to see how God’s majestic name shows up in every corner of His creation.

I don’t know why God cares so much about us but, I believe God put the stars in the sky as a visible reminder of His presence and his desire to have a relationship with us.  We feel how small we are and yet God still thinks of us.  He sent His own Son to give His life for us.  What is man that you are mindful?  Next time you wonder about God, go out and gaze up at the stars.  Remember that the God who created the stars also created you!

12 Days of Christmas

Over the past few weeks did you sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” or hear it as many times as I did?  I have always believed that this song leads us up to the 12 days before Christmas.  But, after a little study I found that The 12 days of Christmas originally began on Christmas day and ended on January 5.  This time is known as the Season of Christmas.  

The Christmas season begins with the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day.  The feast of Christmas lasts 12 days, until Epiphany.  Christmas is a season of thankfulness for Christ’s first coming to provide salvation.  The Christmas Season ends with the Magi or the 3 Wise Men coming to bring gifts to Jesus.  This is also called Epiphany.  

On Friday November 27, 2020 we began our Bible Journal Advent writings.  I learned much about the anticipation and arrival of our Messiah.  But, today, the day after Christmas, we wake up and the advent season is over.  The anticipation and preparation is over.  For some there is a let down, a feeling that it is all over.  But, what really happens now?

I have been fascinated learning of Advent and that stirred in me to learn more about the Church Seasons or the Liturgical Calendar.  Because of the New Testament we have freedom in Christ and are not bound or required to observe the different church seasons.  But at the same time, we have the freedom to learn about these Church traditions and follow them if we like.  I found that in following Advent, it drew me closer to God and the anticipation of His son at Christmas.  So what now?  Advent is over and what happens now?

As we celebrate the Christmas Season we can reflect on the meaning of the 12 days through the song, The 12 Days of Christmas.  Here are the meanings that accompany each verse:

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree.

The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on the first day of Christmas.  Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge, the only bird that will die to protect its young.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…two turtle doves.

These two birds represent the Old and New Testaments.  They represent God’s road map that is available to everyone.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…three french hens.

These birds represent faith, hope, and love.  1 Corinthians 13

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…four calling birds.

These four birds are the four Gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…five gold rings.

The gift of the rings represents the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…six geese a laying.

Each egg represents a day in creation from the book of Genesis.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…seven swans a swimming.

The swans represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:  prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion.  As swans are one of the most beautiful and graceful creatures, they seem to be a perfect symbol for the spiritual gifts.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…eight maids a milking.

Being a milkmaid was one of the lowest jobs of its time.    This verse conveys that Jesus cared about his servants as he did those of royal blood.  The eight who were blessed included the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…nine ladies dancing.

These are the gifts of the fruit of the Spirit.  The fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…ten lords a-leaping.

As lords were judges and in charge of the law, this represents the Ten Commandments.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…eleven pipers piping.

Most think of the disciples as twelve, but when Judas betrayed Jesus and committed suicide, there were only eleven men who carried out the gospel message.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…twelve drummers drumming.

The drummers are the twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed.  “I believe inJesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.  On the third day he rose again.  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge the living and the dead.  I believe int the holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

So as we sing or hear this silly song we can now realize that it has reminders of the essential elements of our faith.  As Christmas has become more materialized and lost its real meaning to many, these 12 days originally connected believers to the whole story of Gods plan.  The verses in this song enhance the meaning of Christmas for each one of us.  For the next 12 days we can focus one verse each day and reflect on what God is teaching us.

Waiting

I learned a hard lesson on my 9th birthday.  I dreamed of getting a light blue 3 speed bicycle that I had previously seen a neighbor riding.  My dad took me to the bike shop on my birthday to pick out my new bike.  As we looked at all the options it became evident that a light blue bike was not available to take home that day.  I had a choice, I could either order one and wait 10+ days for it to arrive or I could leave right then and there with a puke green “old lady” model.  In my immaturity, I chose that green bicycle.  I still remember the sinking feeling when I got home and rode around on that new bike, I felt remorse and yearning for what I really wanted… that light blue bike!  To this day I use this story with my kids.  We call it “green bicycle syndrome”.  When you want something so bad, but you settle for something less because you don’t want to wait.  This lesson taught me to wait for the best, not settle.  Waiting that 10 days would have been hard, but I can’t imagine how happy I would have been going to pick up my dream bike and riding it around the neighborhood.  I missed out on that enjoyment because I was not patient in my waiting.  Am I good at waiting now?  Nope, but I always have a reminder in that ugly green bike!

I could ask all kinds of questions about what you are waiting for right now (a new job?, a child?  a spouse? a call from the Dr?).  But for the first time since 1918 (the last pandemic) we all have one thing in common and are all waiting on the same thing!  We can’t wait for this pandemic to be OVER!  Now, will it truly ever be over and we go back to a “normal” life?  Probably not, but at this point we all want any glimpse of normal we can find!  It is easy to get impatient and frantic at times dealing with all the changes, but we see in Luke 1:5-13 a different example of waiting.

In this advent season we are waiting on the miraculous birth of Jesus.  Yet, when we look at the book of Luke, we see he did not start with the story of Jesus.  He started further back in God’s plan of preparation.  Luke begins in chapter 1 verse 5 introducing us to Zechariah and Elizabeth, a couple old enough to have quit expecting children.  

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah;  his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.  But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive and they were both very old.

Luke 1:5-7

They probably wondered why God had not blessed them with children, why their faithfulness to God was unnoticed and unrewarded.  In their culture, childlessness was regarded as a curse for sin of some kind.  In verse 25, Elizabeth calls it her “disgrace.”  

As devout Jews, Zechariah and Elizabeth had long prayed and hoped for a child and certainly it seemed that God would never answer their prayers.  And then, one day,  Zechariah who was a priest and was on duty in the temple, heard an angel of the Lord speak to him and share the unexpected.  After such a long period of waiting, Elizabeth was pregnant.  Their hopes, longings and prayers were finally coming to fruition.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.  When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.  But the angel said to him:  “Do not be afraid, Zechariah;  your prayer has been heard.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Luke 1:11-13

What do we do in the waiting?  Do we become impatient and try to fulfill our longings on our own, as I did with the green bike?  Or do we, as Zechariah and Elizabeth did, wait on God to respond to our prayers and longings?  Zechariah was an Israelite priest and was on duty in the temple when he learned that Ezlizbeth was pregnant.  He was living out his life in service and in faith.  How do we live while we wait?  

Even though Zechariah and Elizabeth might have thought that God had given up on them and forgotten about their pleas, prayers and hopes.  God was faithful to them just as God would be faithful to the Israelites and their prayer for a Messiah in the coming of Jesus.  It was a beautiful reminder to them and to us that we can be assured that even when we have to wait for our hopes and dreams to come true, we can be sure that this does not mean that God is not active and at work in our lives.  

Do we remain active and faithful to God in the midst of our waiting?  Waiting for life to return to “normal”?  I love how the Bible is so good at reminding us through these stories that God is faithful and steadfast in caring for us, even if it is not on our timetable.  Including today, we have 13 days to wait till Christmas, the day we celebrate the promise of and fulfillment of the Messiah.  May we spend these days reading the promises of God and reflecting on His Word.  

Good News

Today we will look at Isaiah 40 for this first day in our study of Advent.  Ross did an excellent job of describing what Advent means for us in his post yesterday.  As we study each day of this advent season may our hope and longing of knowing Jesus grow deep within us.  

Did you make it through Turkey Day?  All the preparations of food and drink, cleaning of the house, catching up with family?  I always enjoy Thanksgiving evening, when all the prep is done, dinner is over, comfy clothes are on and everyone is relaxed and chatting.  But, as soon as Thanksgiving Day is over we jump right into preparing for Christmas…Get the tree up!  Hang the lights outside!  Put out the nativity and decorations!  Buy the gifts!  Wrap the gifts!  Make the cookies!  If we aren’t intentional we will miss the real meaning of Christmas.

I am excited over these next four weeks to take a deep dive into the scriptures and focus on the meaning of Advent and the days leading to Christmas.  

These words in Isaiah 40 are a guide for this first look into Advent.  The words offer us hope.  Though they were first meant to be God’s word to a people “who walked in darkness,”  they are for us today.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke all quote from Isaiah 40 when they refer to John the Baptist.  (Mark 1:2-3, Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4-6, and John 1:23).  John is commissioned to be the one to proclaim the arrival of Christ.  He became the voice crying out in the wilderness.  A voice of one calling: 

“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;  make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:3

John the Baptist proclaimed that God will indeed be revealed to them.  He was proclaiming that the long wait was over, that what Isaiah had predicted was finally here.  

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.  You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid;  say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”  See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.  See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  He tends his flock like a shepherd;  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;  he gently leads those that have young.  

Isaiah 40:9-11

The Lord is returning to Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is to proclaim the exciting news to all the other cities that God once again is for them.  “Do not be afraid” means that Zion need not fear being wrong about this and raising false hopes.  The proclamation should be bold and heard by everyone, because there is no chance that it will not happen.

This is good news.  Good news that will bring light and hope to people suffering in darkness; news that will fill people with peace and joy.  Jesus came into our world as a fulfillment of the hope of Israel.  We now wait with the same hope.  God will fulfill our hope, and he does so  in Christ Jesus.  

We, the church are called now to proclaim the Good News.  We need to tell people, “Here is your God.”  He has come to reclaim what was his.  He gathers the lambs in his arms (40:11).  We see God work in history and in our lives today.  Just as Israel longed for redemption in the midst of darkness we long for the return of Christ.  Advent serves as a time to reflect and long for what God has done and will do.  As our days are filled with Holiday fun and busyness, may we take time to focus on the joy and hope that Christ’s birth provides.

The Unexpected

18 years ago I was sitting at a water park chatting with a friend while watching my 3 and 5 year old daughters play in the baby pool.  It was a beautiful, warm summer day.  My 7 year old son and his friend were just beyond us enjoying the water slides.  I distinctly remember hearing my name over the loud speaker, “Stephanie Wolfe, please come to the lifeguard station immediately.”  I knew that it had to be urgent for them to stop the music and page me directly.  All eyes were on me as I looked to my friend for help.  She took my girls and I dashed off to find my boy, covered in blood.  Turns out he hit a pole on his way down the slide and cut his head.  It required quite a few stitches and we learned that a cut to the head bleeds profusely.  It looked way worse than it actually was.  My point is, I raced to my boy when I heard the call.  When someone we love needs help we react and are there by their side as fast as humanly possible.

John 11 tells a different approach to rushing to help a loved one.  Word reaches Jesus from the town of Bethany that Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick.  These three siblings were close friends of Jesus, in fact, they may have been three of Jesus’ closest friends.  The sisters even called Lazarus “the one you love” when they called for Jesus to help.

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

John 11:3

Just as I ran to my son when I heard he needed me, I would expect Jesus to run to his friend who was deathly sick.  But, we are surprised when we read how Jesus responds.  

So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,

John 11:6

What?!???!!  Was Jesus so busy that He could not get away?  No, we then read that he intentionally chose to wait for two more days.  

It is that small word (underlined by me) above in verse 6 that is important as to why Jesus waited.  So!  This little word presents a cause and effect to us.  What follows the “so” is the effect and what precedes it is the cause.

The cause before the “so” is found in verse 5:

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

John 11:5

Jesus’ love caused Him to wait for his friend to die instead of rushing to his side.  It is hard to comprehend why Jesus would wait instead of rushing to his side when time was of the essence!  But when we take a look back at verse 4 we see that Jesus had a plan.  He knew that his friend’s illness would result in death, but not end in it.

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

John 11:4

Jesus knew that he would shout “Lazarus, come out!” and life would fill his friend once again.  This is why he waited!  He wanted Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and His disciples to experience something that would completely change them from that day forward.

Mary and Martha called for Jesus because they had seen Jesus heal many people.  They knew He could heal Lazarus before he died.  But, Jesus wanted them to experience something more.  He wanted them to see that He has power over death because that is what they would need to know about Him.  Because, soon they would see His lifeless body in a tomb.

Had Jesus rushed to Lazarus when he was sick and healed him we would have missed so much more than Jesus actually intends for us.  Jesus gave His friends (and us through the reading of His Word) the gift of deepening their faith.

The resurrection of Lazarus is an incredible demonstration of the power of Jesus.  It is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ resurrection and a picture of our new life in Jesus. 

Jesus did not do what Mary and Martha were expecting.  He did something better.  This is the same we experience in our lives.  God does not always do what I expect or think He should do.  However, He can and will bring greater glory to Himself.  If He doesn’t do what I think He should, it is very probable that God has something better in mind.  

Encouragement

“How are you doing?  No, how are you really doing?”  This is a question I remember hearing when I attended church back in high school.  The person asking really wanted to know how I was doing.  He was not looking for the typical, “I’m fine” response.  His intent then was to offer encouragement for whatever I was going through at the time.  That is, if I had the courage to really let him know how I was doing.  

It is easy to be focused on ourselves right now.  To get stuck thinking about what we are going through and how difficult our situation might be.  But, the Bible calls for us to be encouragers.  

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Encouragement is like a gentle push forward when we have run out of energy.  It is a pat on the back that appreciates work you have done.  It is acknowledgement that you made a difference in someones life.  When someone encourages us, we stand straighter.  We feel energized.  We move with purpose and meaning.  Encouragement strengthens us to move on and face what lies ahead.

There is a difference between worldly encouragement and Biblical encouragement.  Encouragement from the world may look like fans in the stands watching a sports game.  Yelling and cheering on the team that you want to win.  This cheering is invigorating in the moment, but it is different than Biblical encouragement.  Biblical encouragement goes deeper than boosting ones self-esteem.  

The Greek word for encourage that Paul uses in the scripture verse above is “parakaleite”.  It specifically means to comfort one another by getting up close and personal.  To console and strengthen.  This type of encouragement forges a strong bond.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by god.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Encouragement is the key to building relationship and connection. To come alongside.  Encouragement is not a one and done kind of thing.  It is not yelling your heart out for a couple hours at a competition and then walking away.  By using words that build up, we help someone navigate through tough times.  Your encouragement gives the person strength to stand strong and face their battles. 

What we say to each other matters.  We are all facing struggles and unknowns.  Keep encouraging one another.  Our God is bigger than our present circumstances.

What are you seeking?

Oh boy…I don’t even need to mention all that we are going through these days.  I am sick of hearing and reading about it all as I am sure you are.  So today, lets take a step back and refocus on what we are seeking.

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?”  And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come and you will see.”  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  

John 1:35-39“What are you seeking?” are the first words of Jesus that John records and the big question that he asks of these two men who are interested in becoming disciples.  This question also could be understood as, “what purpose do you have?”  The same question applies to us right now.  What is our purpose in seeking to follow Jesus?  Especially through these trying days, weeks, and months.  

What we learn from the two men in this passage is that they simply wanted to go where Jesus was staying, to spend time with Him.  They wanted to gain insight into who Jesus was and what he was about.  Spending quality time with Him to learn and listen was their goal.  We can learn form these men what it means to seek Jesus today.  Seeking is more than just saying a prayer or one day a week in church.  

My encouragement to you and to myself over these next few weeks is ESCAPE!  Escape to Jesus.  Seek Him.  Open your Bible and sit with him for 5 or more minutes every day.  I hate to admit how easy it is to get caught up in all that is going on and skip my time seeking Jesus.  His Word is living and a guide for us to follow daily.  I remember growing up hearing our pastor saying, “Keep it simple stupid” (KISS).  I need to remember this today!  KISS…just sit, with my Bible and let the Holy Spirit speak to me through His Word and He will light my path.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

For God to be a lamp and a light in my life, I actually have to open my Bible and read it.  This means seeking Him!

Victor

The crisp fall air is upon us.  The leaves are finally showing their colors.  Pumpkin everything is surrounding us.  But, the one thing I am really missing is High School football.  Every year since 2012 we have been attendees at our our High School football games.  This year is our daughter’s senior year and the last year to watch her cheer for our football team.  It just feels empty not cheering and watching our team conquer their opponent every Friday night.  The victory dance at the end of the games is always my favorite.  A couple years ago our team won their conference game and regionals to advance to the state playoffs.  Watching the crowd ascend on the field at the end of the games to celebrate the victory was such an exciting time.  We have hope that we will get to experience football in the spring (I guess time will tell:)

Can the excitement of a winning football team compare to the victory of Christ?  No, but I believe it can give us a tiny glimpse into the excitement and power that Christ brings to our lives.

When I think of victory in Jesus the first thing that comes to my mind is this song, Victory in Jesus.

Victory In Jesus

Guy Penrod

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory

How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me

I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning

Then I repented of my sins and won the victory

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever

He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood

He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing

How He made the lame to walk again and ’caused the blind to see

And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit”

And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever

He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood

He loved me…

Are you singing it in your head now??

Jesus is the Victor.  He is our Victor, if we choose to believe that He died on the cross for our sins.   He is the first one to escape death.  He has destroyed the sting and power of death.  

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54

Christ shares his victory with us.  Because he lives, we too shall live.  Because Christ, by his resurrection, has defeated every evil power, one day, not only that promise but all of the Bible’s promises will come true for all who know and love Christ. 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.  And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

We will live forever because Christ is Victor.

Sun

It is hard to imagine our lives without electricity.  Can you imagine your evenings and early mornings without a light bulb?  The only true light that existed before electricity and the light bulb was the SUN.  When the sun went down it got dark.  The best you could do back then was make a fire, light some candles, and wait for tomorrow when the sun would return.  

There are many scriptures that suggest Jesus is a SUN.  The sun in nature is the source of light, life, warmth, beauty, and fruitfulness.  God is Light against darkness.  

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;  the Lord bestows favor and honor;  no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Psalms 84:11

The sun is our ultimate source of physical light and warmth.  Without it we would starve and freeze to death.  It is essential to life here on planet earth.  

Do you know the feeling of being inside, usually a Dr office or a commercial building, and being totally freezing because the air conditioner is cranked to the lowest setting?  And then walking outside and feeling the sun penetrate your skin and immediately warm you up?  It feels so good!  

God is the sun.  He warms us even on the coldest and cloudy days.  On the days when life is hard and everything seems difficult, He is there.  You may not feel the rays and the warmth every single day,  but the sun is still there.  It is up to us to believe that He is working in us and through us for our good.

Then, there are also times of trial when it seems the sun has totally disappeared and we don’t see the sun.  The sense of the Lord’s presence does not feel near.  Thankfully, our lives are not built around feelings.  We have the promise that God is near.  

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalms 145:18

We relish in the days when the presence of the Lord feels real to our hearts.  These days are delightful.  

Our Lord is a Sun.  A bright and glorious sun to brighten our lives.  He warms us with His love.  Fills our very beings with His presence.  And, sometimes withdraws His face from our lives.  But, we have the promise that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Sower

3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying:  “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Matthew 13:3-9

I have read this parable numerous times in the past and always focused on the soil.  This is the first time I have read these verses with the sower in mind.  When we read this parable from the perspective of the sower we get a better understanding of why Jesus called it the parable of the sower, and not the parable of the soil.

Jesus himself explained to the disciples what this parable means.  The farmer is like Jesus.  The seed that he sows is the seed of the good news about Jesus.  The farmer sows the seed in many different places, just as we Christians should share God’s good news in many different places.  What happens to the seed is different in different places.  It is the same with the good news about Jesus.  It has a good result in the lives of some people, and it has a poor result in other lives.  

Jesus shares that the sower scattered seed (the Word of God) on all types of ground.  It didn’t say that he was meticulously planting the seeds in designated ‘good soil’ areas — it says he was scattering the seed everywhere. 

In Luke 5:31 we are reminded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

The meaning of the parable of the sower is to show that Christ came to share the Word of God with everyone.  We don’t serve a stingy God who picks and chooses who is good enough to hear the word.  He graciously sows into everyone who is willing to accept his word.