Video of the Divine Service is here. The sermon begins around the 17:30 mark.Continue reading
[Sorry, I forgot my voice recorder]
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It’s obvious that there is a problem in the parable Jesus tells. What is the problem? Why is it that some seed falls on certain ground where it bears no fruit; and some falls on other ground where it bears fruit 30 or 60 or 100 times more? Usually, the first place we look for a problem is at the soil. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with the seed, so the problem must be in the soil. And that’s part of the answer, unless we let it deceive us into thinking that this parable is instructing us on how not to be bad soil, or if we are bad soil, how to be better soil. Jesus’ parables are never about how you ought to improve yourself. They are always about what God is doing in Jesus. They may include things about us, about sinners, about the world, but the main point is always about God. What makes this parable more difficult is that we’ve left out the verses in between the parable and the explanation Jesus gives. The disciples of Jesus ask Him why He speaks to the crowds in parables. We’re used to thinking of parables as folksy illustrations meant to clarify something about God. And they do that, but not always. Jesus tells His disciples that He speaks in parables to the crowds who are more and more opposed to Him. There are more and more who refuse to hear Him; more and more, the leaders of Israel are plotting to get rid of Him. So He says, “The meaning of the parables is not given to the crowds, but to you it has been given.”