Greetings of peace,
May the Lord listen to the cry out of our hearts thirsting for His Word and let the Holy Spirit guide and enable us to listen to the Word of God earnestly.
What is the message of the Word of God that could quench our thirst? The Gospel of Luke 8:4-21 wrote about the two parables and the brothers of Jesus, “While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “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 ate it up……His disciples asked him what this parable meant…… “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God…… But 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.“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand so that those who come in can see the light…… Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
We should come to church services on time whether it is on-site or online just like the multitudes who came to join Jesus, not like His mother and brothers who came late after the sermon ended. Therefore Jesus firmly said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”
Introspection: How do we honor the Word of God? Do we join the online or on-site church service faithfully on time or are we often late? Or do we come to worship Him only when we have time? If we come late to hear God’s Word, how is it possible to put it into practice appropriately?
What was Jesus’ intention and purpose of giving two parables to them and to us? These two parables are related to home and family. Jesus obviously reminds us to listen to God’s Word and put it into practice. What is the impact of practicing the Word of God and the consequence of not doing it?
- The Parable of the Sower → outside
The seed is planted (outside the house) to grow as crops then harvested to be consumed (inside the house). For example: rice is planted on the field, harvested then cooked to be consumed.
Jesus confirms that the seed is the Word of God that falls on the fertile soil (heart) then maintained well to produce fruit to be eaten. Can our stomach be full by only watching the uncooked rice? A seed of rice will stay a seed if it does not fall to the ground (planted). We certainly won’t be full by eating a seed but the seed is to be planted to grow and be fruitful; therefore a good soil is needed. No one wants to experience a loss or hunger, for a hungry person will consider the less delicious food to taste delicious. Jesus – the Word of God – is ready to satisfy and protect our family and household from hunger. Be careful, if we don’t long for the true Word of God, we will be prone to “consume” any message from WhatsApp or etc. that seems like the Word of God without carefully filtering them. They may sound spiritual, but when examined further, they are not found biblical. Do you know the intention and purpose of hearing and receiving the Word of God? It is so that we know the Person of Jesus and honor His sacrifice.
What is the meaning of the seed of the Word of God that falls on the wayside (v. 11)? Falling on the wayside, the seed can be devoured by anyone who passes by including the birds (the devil). Thus, they do not have a chance to grow in our heart, let alone save us. Do not let the seed of the Word of God be planted in the wrong place, especially one related to the power of darkness!
Be careful for the devil knows that he will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur eternally (Revelation 20:10), and he wants to look for as many preys to be condemned together with him. The devil succeeded ini provoking Adam and Eve to fall into sin by eating the fruit of the good and evil while the Lord provided the seed of life. Now the devil is targeting the hearts of a husband, wife and children who are not serious in hearing the seed of the Word of God, lest they grow and bear fruit.
Notice that the seed cannot grow on the wayside but on the field that has an owner. Who is the owner of the soil of our heart? We were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:19) to become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). In the temple of God or Tabernacle there was the Table of Showbread with the bread on it to be eaten by the serving priests (Leviticus 24:5-6, 9).
Application: As we “eat” the word of God that we hear and keep in our hearts, it will encourage us to be more faithful in serving the Lord. Do not give the devil a chance to take the seed of the Word of God, otherwise we will become weak! Remember that there is no food that can guarantee to make us strong other than the Word of God that leads us to eternal life.
What about the seed of the Word of God that falls onto the rocky ground that could only grow for a while and then dried up for lacking of water? As they are not rooted well, man will turn away from God when facing the stumbling blocks. We must admit that we could forget the ongoing overwhelming temptations when we are being poured with the seed of the Word of God in church, but what about the attitude of our hearts when we are outside the church? However, no temptation will overtake us. And God is faithful; He will provide a way out so that we can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13) so we don’t need to lose our faith or convert to other religions. Illustration: Before sowing the seed, the farmer will firstly clean the rocks and wild plants off the field. And as the crops are growing, he will diligently maintain the soil’s cleanliness. If he finds new rocks that may stunt the crops’ growth, he just needs to throw them away instead of moving the crops to another place.
Application: We must be diligent to remove the stumbling blocks (laziness, envy, etc.) from the soil of our hearts, rather than removing the seed of the Word of God to another place. So, do not let any stumbling block stay in our hearts; or else we will just receive momentary salvation!
There are some seeds that fall among thorns. The thorns choked the seeds to death. It speaks of those who receive the seed of the Word of God, but they cannot grow mature and bear fruit because they are choked by life’s worries, wealth and pleasures (Luke 8:14).
Introspection: Can we enjoy eating the half-cooked rice? It could cause stomachache! Likewise, our spiritual life won’t grow mature if the seed of the Word of God is stunted by life’s worries, wealth and pleasures. Therefore, we must come to the Lord to get the seed of the Word of God entirely.
- The Parable of a Lamp → inside the household
A lamp is needed in a dark place but if we wrongly place it, it will not function well and the place will still be dark.
Jesus says that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), and the Word of God is the lamp to our feet and the light to our path (Psalms 119:105).
The lamp functions to illuminate the darkness, but the light won’t shine out if covered with a bushel (worries about clothing and food) or placed under a bed (marriage).
Application: The Word of God illuminates and guides the journey of our personal life or our household and marriage. A dispute in a household often happens because the husband, wife, or children wrongly place the lamp of the Word of God. Each of the family members can become the light in the house if they put the lamp in the proper place (on the lamp stand); then no friction or stumble will happen. The work of the Holy Spirit illuminates the relationship between husband and wife. Do not put the primary need above the Word of God! Furthermore, we should not hide anything for fear to be stripped off by His Word (Hebrews 4:12-13). The fact is man likes darkness rather than light because of their wicked deeds (John 3:19-21). A marriage needs the light of the Word of God ever since the man and woman took the decision to become husband and wife. By placing the Word of God above everything, spouses can give light to the darkness (weakness) of their mates and they will live happily.
- The Mother and Brothers of Jesus
Mary, the mother of Jesus, came looking for her (human) son Jesus, not to listen to the Word of God but to take Him home for she had listened to the hoax saying that He was insane (Mark 3:21).
Having come late, Jesus’ mother and brothers did not hear, let alone understand the explanation about the seed and the lamp. They did not hear when Jesus said, “…Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them” (Luke 8:18).
After Doctor Luke repented, he became Apostle Paul’s fellow worker in the ministry. He wrote this story long after Jesus died, rose and ascended to heaven. He blatantly wrote about Jesus’ mother and brothers’ lack of seriousness in listening to His word, and quoted what Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Introspection: Is the Word of God really in our hearts? Does the seed grow after we listen to the Word of God? How long have we been following the Lord? Have we read the Bible completely? What is the purpose of our coming to church? Is it to seek the Word of God or to meet our pastor and fellow ministers? If we are reminded of our lack of reverence for the Word of God, we must repent and improve ourselves.
To receive eternal salvation, we must be diligent to listen to the Word of God, to keep it in our heart that has been sanctified by Him, and to practice it. Let the light of the Word of God lead the journey of our life, our marriage, and our family so that we can be the light for people around us who still live in the darkness of sin. This way, they will get to know Jesus, the source of light, and they will gain the light of life (John 8:12). Amen.