“On Your Mark”
The Word of The Kingdom (Chapter 4 Verses 1-20)
Peter was brought to repentance by a crowing rooster, Balaam the false prophet was spoken to, by the Lord, through a donkey. You prepare your heart to listen, and God will speak to you, whoever or whatever the instrument. But conversely those who do not, will hear nothing, no matter how loud the proclamation. Good hearers are just as important as good preachers. The secret of the kingdom (v11), that is, everything God had been revealing all through the old Testament, Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets. Things which the Old Testament saints sought to understand but could not (1Peter 1.10-12). This has been revealed to Jesus’ disciples in all its fullness in him. This had been given to them (Ephesians 2.5-9; Matthew 16.13-17). They had been enlightened by Divine grace, and caused to understand the blessing of God’s rule in Christ, by God’s free and special grace alone. The Pharisees and Scribes who oppose and vilify Jesus are left outside (v11), and once more prophecy is fulfilled (Isaiah 6.9-10). The purpose of God in causing the gospel to be preached is that people will hear and believe, that they should be converted and find the forgiveness of their sins (v12). That will happen.
The understanding of this parable is paramount to the understanding of all the parables spoken by Jesus (v13). So he explains it to them (v14). The seed is the word of God (Luke 8.11), or the word of the Kingdom (Matthew 13.19). It is the means by which understanding, the revealing of the Kingdom comes to the human heart. It is sown by the preaching and teaching of the word, again we see the imperative of preaching (Titus 1.3; 1Corinthians 9.16; 2Timothy 4.2). Preaching was Jesus’ primary function, and it is the Church’s too (Mark 1.38). That is the God-ordained means of bringing the gospel to humankind. Remember! No sowing? No harvest! The farmer (V14), is left uninterpreted, mainly because the focus is upon the hearers of the gospel, not the preachers. But the Sower, farmer, is anyone really who sows the seed of God’s precious word. From the preacher on Sunday, to the Sunday School teacher, down to our own very personal witness, at home, among friends, our work colleagues. Of course the ultimate Sower is Jesus himself, all sowing must be done in and through him. Yet as he was sent, so he sends us (John 20.21), to sow. When did you last bear witness to your Saviour?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)