Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55.10-11; Romans 8.18-23; Matthew 13.1-23
“Other seeds fell on good ground and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” – Matthew 13.8
Jesus’ parable of the sower is prophetic. It promises that Jesus’ word will yield a thirty, sixty, hundredfold harvest. The yield, however, does not happen in the gospel narrative. When Matthew’s gospel ends, Jesus is commissioning his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (24.19). The seeds have yet to grow and yield.
Within the gospel narrative, Jesus’ teachings fall well-worn paths, on rocks, and in weedy patches where in each case the seeds fail to flourish. The disciples who flee when Jesus is arrested are like the seeds on the path that the birds eat. They vanish.
Peter, who name means Rock, is like the rocky ground where seed grows up quickly but dries out for lack of soil in which to root. Peter enthusiastically affirms Jesus is the messiah but then rejects a messiah who suffers and denies he even knows Jesus during his trial.
The rich young man in Matthew 19.16-23 is like the seeds shown among thorns. The lure of wealth spoils his yield.
Before his death and resurrection Jesus’ word doesn’t take deep root, even among his disciples. They mistake who Jesus is and don’t stand by him. Only after the community experiences Jesus’ risen presence do the teachings take root and the disciples begin spreading the good news of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The yield is among the hearers of the good news in every generation, today among us.
What kind of soil are you most like? What has hearing the gospel yielded in your life?