Monday, April 3, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 56

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Day 56: Calloused or Soft?

Please read the Bible verse for today:
Matthew 13: 1- 23

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
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10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” (Matthew 13:1-10)

I remember the first time I ever read this parable I felt completely lost. I had no idea what was being said. And honestly, that was true for the next few times I read it after that. So, when the disciples ask Jesus, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" (Matthew 13:10) I felt like, 'Yeah, why? I don't get what Jesus is saying at all." Two things spring up in me: 1) I love that the disciples ask Jesus, 'Why?' They were confused and they didn't hide it from Jesus. They went to Him and asked. I was raised in such fear of authority that I never would have asked. Even in school when I didn't understand what I was being taught, I would never raise my hand and tell the teacher. I was so afraid of getting in trouble for 'not paying attention.' But with Jesus, we do not need to be afraid. We can ask Him anything and He will gladly answer us. 2) I remember, back in 1988-1989, when I first began reading the Bible how nothing seemed to make any sense, but after I was Baptized in the Holy Spirit, different than water baptism, the Bible opened up for me. Holy Spirit showed me and gave me an understanding to the Scriptures that I had always wanted. It was like my eyes were opened and my heart could receive the Word, like never before.

So, here is Jesus' response to the disciples:
11 "He replied, Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." (Matthew 13:11-17)

Jesus' response was once confusing to me too. If you have been tracking with me or reading the Book of Matthew on your own, remember in Matthew 11:20-30, Matthew 12:1-13, Matthew 12:22-37, Matthew 12:38-50, Jesus performed many incredible miracles, right in front of the Pharisees eyes, and yet they could not 'see' that He was/is the Son of God, the Messiah. They called Him, 'Beelzebul.' Jesus called them to repent, as did John the Baptist, but they would not. Jesus even confronted the crowd and said that their generation was worse than that of the generation of Jonah and the Queen of the South. Jesus spoke to them in parables because those who wanted to know and understand could have gone to Him and asked Him, as the disciples did, but if they didn't understand and didn't want to know a deeper meaning, they would just go home. I do not think Jesus was happy about it, I think Jesus was actually very sad to see the teachers of the Law, and the people so spiritually and physically close to knowing the truth of the mysterious of God and yet their hearts were too calloused to be set free.   
18 Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23) 

The 'sower' is Jesus, a disciple, a missionary, or even me. 
The 'seed' is the Word of God, the Truth. 
The different ground types, 'rocky,' 'thorny,' 'path,' and 'good soil' are all referring to the way different people or the heart of people receive the Word or not receive the Word of God.
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Jesus is calling us all to go deeper with Him. To call to Him and know Him. Jesus wants a relationship with us, not religion and not just good works.

Pray with me:
Jesus, I hear your Word and want more of you. I don't want my faith to be shallow, or overtaken by the things of this world. I want to know you and the power of the resurrection. I want to be Baptized by your Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, come and fall afresh on me today. Open my eyes that I may read your Word and understand. Jesus I want more of you every day. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

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