Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ ministry on earth was to preach and announce the Good News. Jesus, full of mercy, patiently approached the people with His love. When he traveled, He was not alone either. He took his twelve disciples with him along with those who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Those who followed could not leave Him. They tasted His love of healing on both hearts, minds and bodies. Jesus compassionately healed the sick when they asked His mercy. Jesus saw their humble hearts. Jesus not only healed them, but also comforted their souls hungry for peace and comforts. Yes, Jesus was always the source of their peace, comfort and love for the people. He was the one and only one truly good Shepard. He had never rejected or abandoned them. Instead, Jesus always opened His arm, and embraced those who approached to Him with humility and needy hearts.
Therefore, a very large crowd always gathered around Him. They pushed around Jesus to see Him and to be touched by Him. On that day, Jesus could no longer stand at the shore because of the crowd trying to be near Him. Thus, He got into a boat. The crowd soon saw Jesus in the boat, and they became quiet. Jesus stood and slowly looked around the people from left to right until all of them were in Jesus’ eyes. Them Jesus sat in the boat, and all the people remained on the shore. All of them quietly looked at Jesus. Then Jesus opened His mouth, and taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables for the Kingdom of heaven, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (Matthew 13:4b-9)
Many people heard Jesus’ parable, but they could not understand the real meaning of the parable, although they were all familiar with faming. In the parable, Jesus singled out four different types of seeds:
1. seeds fell on a footpath,
2. seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock,
3. seeds fell among thorns, and
4. seeds fell on fertile soil
Even His disciples had a difficult time to understand. Thus, His disciples approached to Jesus and asked, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
Jesus looked at them quietly. Them Jesus replied,
You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables. (Matthew 13:11-13)
Jesus pointed that the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven were hidden from those who were not His children, but only would be revealed to His children. Yes, the knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven is not like the knowledge of the world, which is temporary and limited only to the matters on earth. The knowledge of the Kingdom of heaven can fill up abundantly and satisfy the hearts of those who are suffering, mourning, thirsty for justice, because it gives the true knowledge of the Kingdom and salvation of the eternal life. Thus, the knowledge of the Kingdom of heaven is only for His children, and is not relevant to those who belong to this world. The people of the world cannot get the eternal life and salvation because they cannot understand the secrets. On the other hand, the children of God understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, and inherits His kingdom. This is the blessing to all of His children including us. Praise God, who allows all His children to understand the hidden secrets and inherit the Kingdom of heaven!
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. (Mathew 13:16-17)
Yes, all God’s children are truly blessed. We, the children of God can hear the truth from the mouth of Jesus, which are even longed to see and hear by many prophets and righteous people. We are neither greater than many prophets nor more righteous than the righteous people, but God blessed us according to his own good will. This is the only reason why we and those people gathered around Jesus can hear the truth behind the parable, and understand the secrets of Kingdom of Heaven. This blessing has not been changed at all throughout the history. Hallelujah! This thanks to God. Our mouths are full of His praises and adorations!
Then Jesus started explaining the parables: “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: “
The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. (Matthew 13:18-19)
The first seed fallen on the footpath has ended up being eaten by birds. The saddest part is that the person does not even know this fact of losing his/her eternal salvation. God’s message came to him/her, and it touches the hearer’s heart, but nothing happens. The person does not pay attention at all to the truly living message. The message, then, sits on the heart with doing nothing while being plainly exposed. The evil one comes and snatches away. The most precious gift ever is stolen, but the person even does not notice it at all. It is really sad.
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (Matthew 13:20-21)
The second seed has fallen on the rocky soil. As soon as the message of Good News lands on one’s heart, the person immediately receives the message and is in joy in the message. However, the joy does not last long because the world is not easy. Soon the world presents problems, such as issues of family, job, and health, broken heart and broken relationship at home, school, or work. Some even meet persecution from the world because of only one reason of believing God and His word, because the world is jealous. Yes, nobody says it is easy. Sure, it is really tough and really difficult to overcome by one’s own might and strength. Additionally, if our eyes are fixated on the world, our hearts continue drifting away from God and His word. His word, which was the source of joy, becomes no longer relevant, and eventually the God’s word is no longer alive in one’s heart. This is also sad. The life came to one’s heart, but it could not sustain under the pressure of the world.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (Matthew 13:22)
The third seed has fallen among the thorns. Fortunately, the soil is good and the person’s heart was open wide. The heart readily receives the message of life and truth. Then the person’s faith grows in the good soil. Initially, the person might not know the true nature of the seed of faith growing in heart. As long as everything is good, the faith grows. However, it exposes its true nature when temptations come. What kind of temptations do we talk about here? Temptations, which are so subtle in one’s life, but eventually brings in a terrible consequence in one’s spiritual life. Temptations slowly wedge in one’s heart, and this usually happens when the initial joy of receiving Jesus is subsided, and earthly joy and pleasures are getting into one’s heart while replacing the heavenly joy with that of the earthy. Then one’s spiritual eyes get blind, and the worldly eyes instead get open again. Peter was able to walk on water, as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus, who commanded to come out of the boat and walk. He believed, and walked on water. However, when a strong wind came along with a big wave, he could not continue fix his eyes on Jesus, but looked at the big wave. Immediately, he realized that he was no longer walking on water. Instead he was rapidly sinking into the stormy water. He shouted, and Jesus caught him by hand.
“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31b)
Nobody can say “I am immune to the worries of this world and the lure of wealth,” because the power of the temptations is formidable. Many who were known to be great preachers and Godly persons miserably failed because they took matters into their own hands while trusting their own strength and faith. They were slowly being swallowed by the world, but they even did not notice until they found themselves in great sins. Surely, we are nothing before temptations. We don’t want to repeat the spiritual suicides committed by many who thought they were great in faith. They failed, and their sins impacted numerous believers and unbelievers alike. Jesus, Jesus is the only answer. Fixing our eyes on Jesus and holding Him tighter as worldly temptations come in our lives, and they are getting stronger as we are resisting. If not, we also will surely become prey of the temptations. Nobody is immune to worldly temptations.
The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23)
The fourth seed has fallen on good soil. One who truly hears and understands God’s world, and lives out His word through his/her life on earth. Yes, earthly temptations come and go, but the faithful do not move like a solid rock. A life storm comes into one’s life, such as a family problem, a desperate debt, a serious illness, or a devastatingly heartbreaking of being separated from one’s truly loved one. Even the life storm cannot move the true believer’s heart because the true believer clings to Jesus ever tightly and fixes eyes on Jesus and His cross with all one’s strength and might with believing in His mercy, grace and love demonstrated on the cross. After all, nothing can do to him/her because God’s love is stronger than all things known and unknown to us. In this world, his/her faith is actually getting stronger and deeply rooting into the good soil, and then produces a crop thirty, sixty or even hundred times. This is the secrets hidden to all but those who truly believe in Him. This is the promise given to all His children dearly loved by Him. Then, what can we ask more? The Creator of this entire universe is Our Father, and He loves us. Be strong and courageous in Him. With the power given by God through the Holy Spirit in our heart, we will overcome everything before us, and produce our own crop thirty, sixty and hundred times. This is not just our confidence, but God’s promise. Please rise and praise God, who has given to us His immutable promise with providing the good soil in our hearts, and making us grow in Him everyday under His blessings and protections. Therefore, we love Him and boldly live out His life, not our own life, and bountifully bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit living in our hearts – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Surely, nothing on earth will prohibit bearing this fruit. This is our faith, confidence and assurance in Him. Give thanks to God, for His love, grace and mercy given to us, His beloved children!
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. (Ephesians 3:12)