Matthew 13: 1-9

1 At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. 2 In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. 3 Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories. 4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. 5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, 6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. 8 Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams. 9 “Are you listening to this? Really listening?” The Message

3 He told many stories such as this one:”A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, 6 but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. 8 But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted. 9 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” NLT

This actually continues from the time Jesus has answered the accusations of the religious leaders in the crowds about where his authority comes from.  Something to be noted about the crowd and why some of them were there.  Isn’t it worthy of note also that there were so many and they were willing to stand, not a comfort zone, it appears.  What a draw!

Jesus is talking to them in parables, stories with intent. The first is about the farmer and where his seed goes.  The seed was the same seed, where it fell and how it was received was not.  The results of the sowing was dependent on how it was received, not on the farmer or the quality of the seed.  If the seed is the message of the kingdom of God, how are we receiving it?  Deep into the soil of our lives so it can grow and bear fruit?  Or do we let it lie on the surface, and wonder that it does not bear fruit?

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”  Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”

Cleaned for what?…

  Matthew 12:42-46

“When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, 44 it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. 45 It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place. “That’s what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren’t hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in.”

Jesus applies this analogy to a wicked generation.  What started this comment was a request for a miraculous sign.  The religious leaders did not accept Jesus or what was being done daily by and through him.  They were accusatory on his source of authority. How does cleaning up your act apply to a generation?  We have lots of self-help programs and people get their ‘act together’ using them.  But if the space left from the cleaning out is not filled with the kingdom message and what that requires of them it will be filled with something else.  Nature abhors a vacuum. 

We spend a lot of life filling our minds and hearts from the print and media around us, in the home, at school and later at work as well as in entertainment and recreation. Much of these influences are not of God but present the world view of life and living.  We can empty ourselves when we receive Christ and the message of the kingdom, we can now be aware that our mind/heart needs to be filled with Christ.  The renewing of the mind begins at the Cross, then do we not have a responsibility to continue to fill our minds and hearts with scripture and daily conversation with God?  How else can we gain the knowledge and understanding of God that Proverbs talks about?  Should it not come from the Word of God with understanding given by the Holy Spirit as spoken of there?  Should we not spend as much time with Biblical influences as we spent with world view influences?  How else can we find out who God is, who he says we are, what  he can do, what we can do?