September 25, 2013

Thursday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 27, 1 Kings 16:29, 2 Thes. 2:13-3:5
Evening – Psalm 31, Job 10:1-18, Mt. 13:1-23

Commentary Matthew 13:1-23

Often called “The Parable of the Sower” our reading for tonight is actually a parable of the soils.  The Sower is Christ; the Seed is the Gospel.  The hearers of the Gospel are the soils.  As there are different types of soils, there are different types of hearers.  Verses 4-8 describe the soils.  There is the wayside, meaning beside the pathway.  There is the stony soil, more stone than soil.  There is soil that appears to be good soil, but is overgrown with thorns that choke the seed as it sprouts.  There is good soil where the seed takes root and brings forth fruit.

Sowing, in those days, was done by the broadcast method.  The sower carried a bag of seed and cast handfuls of it across the soil.  A good sower could broadcast the seed evenly, so it produced a good stand of wheat.  So the picture presented is of Christ sowing the seed of the Gospel, dispensing it, pouring it out on the souls of people.

In verse 10 the disciples, who do not understand the parable anymore than the Pharisees and multitudes, ask Christ why He speaks in parables.  His answer is shocking.  “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”  Did Jesus just say understanding the Gospel is given to some people and not given to others?  Our Lord quotes the Old Testament, showing again that He and His work are the fulfillment of the law and prophets. “Hearing ye shall hear and not understand; and seeing ye shall see and not perceive.”  It certainly sounds like Jesus is saying the reason some believe and others do not lies with God, not with man.  At the very least God knows who will and will not believe.  If He has this knowledge and does nothing to change the outcome, then is it correct to say some are predestined to believe and be saved while others are not?.  Verse 15 seems to indicate that God will not change the hearts or open the eyes and ears of the people He was speaking to in the parable, but  verse 16 seems to indicate that He is opening the eyes and ears of the disciples, “for they hear.”  Thus, our Lord, speaking to the disciples in private tells them the meaning of the parable (Mt 13:18-23).  The point is that only the few who constitute the good ground hear and understand the Gospel, which bring forth in them the abundant fruit of salvation.