Jesus told a parable. He who has ears, let him hear…but even the disciples didn’t get it, so Jesus to them the meaning of the parable. The technical term for this is a freebie. It Should make things easier. Parables contain the secrets of the kingdom of God, so they’re important. We take from it…an assessment tool…
What kind of soil are you? I mean…not you. You’re here. Never mind Jesus couldn’t avoid the devil, I must have. I can’t be the path. Never mind our worries about money and family and politics, and definitely don’t mention that the cares and riches and pleasures of this life make up more of our prayers than any of the other petitions combined. We can’t be thorns. And never mind if you’re not sure which petition I’m talking about and couldn’t list the 10 commandments if your life depended on it. You can’t be rocks. We came to church today, so we must be the good soil. Here’s what’s wrong with everyone else. Seeing, we do not perceive, and hearing, we do not understand.
What the Lord actually gives us is a list of all the reasons this thing shouldn’t work. This is all the reasons the wheels should have fallen off the bus a long time ago. Look at the devil. Look how many have fallen away this year. Look at our cares. Look at our catechesis. Jesus explains all the reasons the church shouldn’t still be standing. All the things all of us wrestle with, the enemies that assault every Christian this side of glory.
But here we are. It defies the condemnation of the law. It defies our reason and strength, or lack of both. Because the church doesn’t stand on us, but on Christ and His work. When we take this parable to be nothing more than an assessment tool, We start looking at ourselves instead of Jesus. Worse, we start looking at each other. Stop looking for yourself, and start looking for Jesus. It will make more sense. The bible is not about you. It’s about Jesus for you.
An assessment tool is of the law. That’s what the law does. It sets standards and assesses how you’re doing. It measures. If your takeaway from this parable is what you need to do or be, then seeing, you do not see, and hearing you do not understand. Because the parables contain the secrets to the kingdom of God. The law is not how you’re going to get to the kingdom of God. By works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. If this is the secret to the kingdom of God, this is not about the law. It’s about the gospel.
It’s about the sower who sows recklessly, to those where no growth should happen. It’s about the seed that never had a fault in it. Go back and read. When did the seed not grow? This is not just a warning to behave better and care less about the world. It’s a promise for sinners who don’t. For me. For you. God will not forsake you to the devil. He will not forsake you for your sins. He will not abandon you to your earthly cares. He visits you to preach peace and mercy. He can’t throw seed there unless He goes there Himself.
The seed isn’t just the word like a bible verse, but the Word made flesh, the seed is promised to Eve that will crush the head of the enemy forever. The seed is Jesus. And that seed goes out to the ones assaulted by the devil, the ones choked by earthly idols, and the ones scorched by trial without hope of truth. Jesus subjects Himself to everything the text warns against. To the devil, to the trial, to the temptation. He doesn’t search out the good, He seeks out everyone. All the world. You. He casts Himself into the ground to be buried under everything that consumes. He bares it all for us that we might be something more than what to blame when there aren’t more believers. He calls you Good. He pours out His own blood into the ground to make it something different. Something new. Something good. He bears the Cross. He rises from the dead. He sends for the Holy Spirit to baptize you into the same. By those waters, the dead are made alive. You are made holy. You are made good. He washes away what was, Every sin you’ve ever committed, everything done to you to make you less, every focus on the lusts of this world instead of the God who gives, every time you’ve neglected the word. And even every time the enemy has just been a little stronger. You are what God makes you. Baptized.
You are good. Not because of what distinguishes you from everyone someone else, but because of what Christ has done for you in love to save you from devil, world, sinful flesh. What’s miraculous is that it works. The Christian is called good and God works in him. The miracle of Christianity is a God who knows exactly what you are and comes down in love for you. To make you something else. He hasn’t stopped since. We call it the church. The fruit from the seed, the life that came from Jesus, who descends to save only sinners.