Jesus explains the parable of the Sower to his disciples, “Now the parable is this: the seed is the Word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Luke 8:11-15
The Creator knows His creation best. “For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.”1 Jesus knows the depths of a man’s heart because he created both man and heart. Man can deny Jesus, walk away from Jesus, forget Jesus, or have faith in Jesus.
Those beside the roadside.
Many people observed Jesus from the roadside while he walked the earth. He multiplied fish, restored lame legs to walk and blind eyes to see, preached sermons, paid taxes from a fish’s mouth, rebuked Pharisees, casted out demons, and raised himself from the dead. Those beside the roadside witnessed Jesus prove his deity but they still did not believe or desire an earnest relationship with Jesus. Instead, they accompanied the roadside where comfort, pride, cynicism, man-made religion, and unbelief gathered. Today, many people do the same. A popular argument against Jesus is proof. If only there was tangible evidence of Jesus, then today’s roadsiders claim they would believe. But that’s far from true. Roadsiders from Jesus’ day saw his deity and carried on in faithlessness. Proof wasn’t enough then, and still isn’t enough today.
Those on the rocky soil.
Many people want to be healed. Since sin entered the world, healing has been a constant need for humanity. When people are cornered with guilt, pain, anxiety, suffering, or confusion they seek healing. Often times, Jesus is initially met with such great joy because Jesus exercises his love for all people by freely offering the needy emotional, spiritual, intellectual or physical healing. But there’s a major problem in the rocky soil: no firm root can be established. Once Jesus takes away that which hurts, those on the rocky soil respond nothing like blind Bartimaeus, “Jesus said to him [Bartimaeus], ‘Go, your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.”2 Bartimaeus had options. He could have turned away from Jesus, but instead he followed Him in faith after his physical eyes were healed. Those on the rocky soil simply walk away from Jesus when persecution and hardship come because of His namesake.
Those among the thorns.
Many people want what Jesus gives. Those among the thorns attend church, quote scripture, move up the corporate ladder, “cast out demons”, and live morally upstanding lives. They drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, flatter with nice words, live in nice homes, eat nice food, and vacation in nice spots. All of these things are nice, but those among the thorns are so worried about their nice things they forget the Giver of things - resulting in the production of immature fruit. Those among the thorns lack genuine perseverance in faith due to seeking the approval of others and desiring earthly pleasure and riches over an intimate relationship with Jesus.
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in honest and good heart, and hold it fast and bear fruit with perseverance.”3 Once again, “…bear fruit with perseverance.” True believers of Christ know they are NOT known because of great health, extensive wealth, and earthly prosperity. Instead, Christ believers are known by their love and persecution.4 The only way to bear Kingdom fruit is by active faith in Jesus, with perseverance; working from His established calling and love. And perseverance is attained through suffering for His purpose. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We rejoice in suffering because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope.”5 Godly suffering is essential for Kingdom fruit to mature. Those in the good soil truly love enemies of the cross, witness in the midst of persecution, repent of sin, and worship God through long-winded trials.
Gird up your loins.
The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning from evil.”6 Job endured an unimaginable trial. Four messengers in short order reported that all of his possessions and children were destroyed. Job’s initial reaction illuminates his reverence for God. “Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame the Lord.”7 Let that sink in for a moment. Job just learned that his family and resources have been destroyed in a matter of minutes and his first response was to worship and bless the Lord’s name. His initial reaction wasn’t from roadside, rocky soil, or thorn-like faithlessness. He responded with such reverence because he exercised earnest, mature faith in the Lord, “…rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”8
But Job was a flawed man. Grueling trials have a way of clouding sound judgment with self-deception. This is not to make an excuse for Job, but instead to point out the reality of man’s fallen nature. Even blameless Job is in need of pruning from the Lord. As the suffering persisted on Job’s heart, he wrestled with understanding the why of his suffering, which eventually yielded untrue presumptions. Job lost sight of the Lord when he devoted his focus to defending himself, instead of allowing God to be his defense. After much debate between Job and his friends, the Lord spoke to Job, “Who is this that darkens my counsel, by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!”9 God went through a plethora of questions and facts about His creation, “He [the behemoth] bends his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze; his limbs are like bars of iron.”10 God rebuked Job with facts of His sovereign creation. Job could have responded to God with a thousand excuses, instead, he humbled himself. He girded up his loins in perseverance and repented.
Job was a blameless man, but Jesus is the sinless man. Jesus is the One to follow in the midst of trials, suffering, and temptation. Jesus knew his skin would be removed from his back; his face marred beyond recognition, and nails driven through his hands. Even with this foreknowledge He still went to the cross for the sins of the world, “Father, your will be done.”11 In pain, He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”12 The Word (seed) became flesh (Jesus). Jesus persevered through the worst thinkable suffering (the wrath of God), so those who believe in Him have refuge in Him through the fullness found in His body - where brothers and sisters in Christ join together to comfort, encourage, and share with one another through times of celebration, hurt, repentance, temptation, suffering, and confusion. Instead of denying, walking away, and forgetting Jesus - embrace Jesus with persevering faith that yields hopeful fruit in failures, trials, temptation, and suffering. The sufferings experienced with Jesus on this earth is worth every moment. He’s producing in His children a peculiar glory that will forever be established.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5: 6-11
by Logan Heine
1 Colossians 1:16
2 Mark 10:52
3 Luke 8:15
4 2 Timothy 3:12; John 13:35
5 Romans 5:3-4
6 Job 1:8
7 Job 1:20-22
8 Job 1:5
9 Job 38:2-3
10 Job 40:17-18
11 Matthew 26:39
12 Luke 23:34