WEEK 19 | MONDAY | MATTHEW 13.1-17
This week’s readings are all from Matthew 13-14. Click here to see a full listing of each day’s reading and the full chapters of Matthew 13-14. Full readings of each day’s smaller segments of the readings will be posted on this site during the week.
13 On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake. 2 And such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat to sit while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3 He told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered. 7 Other seeds fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked them. 8 But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 The one who has ears had better listen!”
10 Then the disciples came to him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He replied, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not. 12 For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand. 14 And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
‘You will listen carefully yet will never understand,
you will look closely yet will never comprehend.
15 For the heart of this people has become dull;
they are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 “But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, 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.
I often have read this passage through a harsher lens than I believe it was intended to be. I think I have read this passage as if God is keeping the soil from being ready for the word.
Like, God has hardened some hearts and softened others.
But, as I was reading this morning, I had this thought. How many of you grew up with people who heard the same sermons, went to the same camps, and were involved in the same way in ministry and have wandered away or never responded in the same way that you did.
Was that God’s predestined closing of their hearts and opening yours? Or, was it simply the way the soil was not prepared or healthy to receive the word by the influences and desires of the world?
I don’t really have any more insight than that, just a thought I had. We should not see this as a indication of a lack of favor, but a reflective reality to why some hear, receive, and are transformed and why others walk away. I know there’s more nuance to this, but it was just my thinking this AM.
So many parts of this passage have always had me wondering what exactly Jesus meant. What do you think he was saying when he says “For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”