Maybe you have heard the parable of the sower and the seed. It isn’t long so I’ll let you refresh your memory or see it for the first time:
Luke 8:4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (ESV)
I’ve heard many a sermon about this parable. Usually massive guilt followed. If I felt better at all it was because I was “good” that week. If that is your experience today is the day that you get set free. This parable (and anything that Jesus says) should encourage you. If you are frustrated then maybe there is a “thorn-bush” that needs to get plucked out. Trust me you will feel better when it is gone. If you are feeling angry and rejecting the finished work of Jesus, then you might need some plowing to “hear” the good news. You should feel better. No that isn’t right. You should feel…. way way way way way way more more more more, absolutely, positively, unequivocally, impossibly, way-to-good-to-be-true… better when you hear the good news. Maybe you hear the good news and get excited in the too-good-to-be-true way and then religion rolls in with the lies or maybe life experience causes you to doubt. This is what Jesus said about the parable.
Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience (ESV)
I want you to really see this. Open your mind of Christ to hear. The “word of God” in this parable is NOT the Bible. That may shock you. The Bible can reveal the “word of God” or point to the “word of God” but the Bible, in and of itself, is not the word of God. Teaching about hell and fire and brimstone is not the word of God. Scaring people with a god who is not real is actually the opposite of the word of God. Trying to portray God differently than who Jesus reveals is not the word of God but is actually darkness. The “word of God” is this:
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (ESVST)
This is the word of God:
Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (ESVST)
This is the word of God:
Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power… (ESVST)
What is consistent about the “Word of God?” He made everything. He holds everything together. He is in everything (everyone). We are in Him. Even in Heb 1:3 it says Jesus is still holding the universe together by the “word” of His miraculous power. This “word” is the rhema word. It is a current, breathing, active and alive word. He is actively keeping all this together.
You often hear the good news is “the opportunity to ask Jesus into your life.” That isn’t good news. That is an opportunity that has potential based on conditions. That is an extension of the religion that Jesus came to abolish. It isn’t news because it is fallen Adam thinking repackaged. It is actually darkness because it comes from Adamic wisdom based on human performance.
The good news IS Jesus included us all into His life. The “news” part is we didn’t get a vote. The “news” part is He didn’t ask our permission. The “news” part is it already happened. The “good” part is Jesus. He shows us the father. He is our light. In Him we find all the answers. His inclusion of us is permanent since: He is God joined to man (incarnation); He died so fallen Adam died; he was resurrected so now our life is His life.
He has always held everything together. Now we are in union with Him so we can know what He knows and experience what He experiences. We have His love in us and flowing from us. As a fallen Adam, mankind lived in the lie of separation from God. God not only destroys the lie in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, He makes His home in us. He is more than just with us. We are in Him and He is in us. That is news and it is really really good. That is the seed that Jesus is still sowing today.
Still some reject Him. Actually many reject Him. Religion itself rejects His goodness… His finished reconciliation work… His inclusion of us… our union with Him… religion rejects the truth in exchange for darkness. Don’t believe me? It isn’t a new thing.
Jn 1:9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. (ESVST)
Still the seeds are being planted. The life of Jesus is emerging from the soil in even the “darkest places.”
Short story… I heard a message about how Jesus emerges in the most unlikely places. In India they worship many gods. Their religion is very much shrouded in performance. I think you would agree that there is much “darkness” in their religious system. As an example they worship the rat god. They guy telling this story said he witnessed their worship of the rat god. They fed all these rats in a temple with garbage and then bowed down in worship to the rats. Then he witnessed a most amazing thing that really impacted him. He saw how the women of the “rat denomination” treated their children. These woman were so loving and caring for their children. They gave themselves unconditionally for their families. They were humble and other-centered. He asked himself “how is this possible?” The answer was clear. Jesus.
Even in the darkest places Jesus is working and emerging. His life is breaking through. The glory of triune love is being manifest.
Maybe you will look for these emergence moments. Maybe you weren’t aware before. Maybe right now you are thinking of so many times you have seen Jesus in people’s lives. Maybe you were taught something very different about seeds and soil and had no grid for Jesus emerging in “unbelievers.” Well now, empowered by the good news, you are free to “see” Him at work everywhere. The truth of Him sets us free indeed to see His goodness. He is relentless in His pursuit. Let the seeds fly!