Seed

A company of women is always a significant thing. It is today and it was then.
As Jesus continued His ministry tour, His entourage continued to expand. In addition to the Twelve men He had chosen, a group of women now followed Him, providing for the needs of the team from their own resources. A common bond was this: Jesus had miraculously delivered each of them from life-threatening circumstances. Dr. Luke gives us the names of three of them:

  1. Mary of Magdala,
  2. Joanna, the wife of a steward of Herod, and
  3. A woman named Susanna.

The story of Mary Magdalene is the most well-known. Before Jesus, she struck terror and excited evil impulses in the people she met for she was infested with seven powerful demons. Now, she moved among the multitude with feminine grace assuring listeners that Jesus could, indeed, help them, too.

A Public Parable
Perhaps Jesus was thinking about the many people who had heard Him speak and the mixed results He had observed when He told this parable:

A sower with excellent, life-giving seed, went about his business. The good seed fell onto different kinds of soil, some of it lost on the road, trampled down by travelers. Some seeds were lost to enterprising birds. Others fell on stony ground and sprang up quickly, but also withered quickly. Some of the seeds fell onto overgrown soil with choking weeds and thorns. Some, just some, of the seed fell on good ground and produced an amazing harvest.

A Private Interpretation
Later, when the healings were over and the multitudes were gone, Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to His followers. We can imagine that as He explained, the women joyfully refreshed Jesus with their provisions, creating an atmosphere conducive to spiritual progress.

“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God,
but to the rest it is given in parables…”

His explanation of the parable was especially tender and real to the Twelve and to the women for they represented the good ground and they knew it.

The seed was the Word of God. The wayside ones were those who never heard the Word because Satan stole it from them. The ones on the rocky soil started out but did not last because they had no roots beneath the rocky surface. Those who received the seed and grew into fine plants but did not produce fruit were those distracted by deceitful things: “cares, riches, and pleasures.” The productive ones are those who heard the Word, took it into their hearts and let it do its divine work. These are the ones who brought in the amazing harvest.

Moments of Reflection
As they pondered the meaning of this parable, the close followers of Jesus began to realize that He was talking about them. Of all the people who heard Him and received from His powerful hand, they represented the good soil for the good seed. They were His harvest! Each of them began to realize what he/she might mean to Jesus. He loved them. Their reception of Him and His Word was precious to Him. Each man and woman decided then and there to let the seed do its work. There in the shadow of Jesus, with His voice soft on their ears, it was the only choice that made sense.

Scriptures:
Luke: 8:1-15

Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities — Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank You for the Good Seed of the Word sown in my heart! It has taken root there for Your glory. May my roots go ever deeper into Your heart. I long to bear fruit for You for in that fruit will be still more seed to sow, more truth to scatter to the winds of this desperate world. Help the seed I sow find the good ground. Help those who hear my message take it deep into their lives to become a fruit-bearing harvest of freedom and joy. For Your Kingdom, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Bringing in the Sheaves

Words: Knowles Shaw; Music: George A. Minor

1. Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Refrain:
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

2. Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Refrain

3. Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Tho’ the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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