The Parable of the Sower is one of the more famous of Jesus’ parables. Often the question posed to the reader is “What soil are you?” While I think it is important to hear the warnings of the passage that there are those who reject God’s word, we are not the ones who determine our soil quality. In the context Jesus is responding to the reality of the situation in which he finds himself. Some are seeing his power, hearing his words, yet plotting to kill him. Some are curious, following him for a bit, but at the first sign of trouble turn away. Some will long to know what they must do to be saved, but when offered the way of the cross they turn back discouraged because they ultimately are more concerned with their earthly lives. But a few hang on to Christ for dear life. Jesus is answering the question: why so many different responses to the message of the kingdom? Jesus says the problem is not with the message or the messenger, (after all the same message is spread to all alike), the problem lies in the hearts of the hearers.
In verses 14-15 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6 where Isaiah is commissioned to preach judgment to all of Israel; they are all deaf and blind. The reality is, when Christ is hanging on the cross, everyone has abandoned him. Even his disciples are confused by him and ashamed of him. But Isaiah’s commission in 6:13 ends with the hope of a stump; a holy seed that will grow from the desolate earth of Israel. So it was with Christ, the seed who was buried broke forth from death to life. He makes the deaf to hear, give sight to the blind, and life to the dead. In the end it is God who plows the hardened soil of our hearts. He prepares it to receive the Gospel – he breaks the earth, removes the stones, and tears out the thorns. He plants his seed and roots it in himself. He makes it to grow and bear fruit innumerable. Don’t miss this good news! Don’t let it pass you by, don’t let it wither and die, don’t press it out with the concerns of life, rather let the gospel flourish in your heart and life.
“He who has ears let him hear…” - RG