Monday, September 07, 2009

First and Goal - INTERCEPTION

The parable of the four soils is found in every Gospel but that written by John and involves three elements. First, there is the sower. The identity of the sower is not specifically mentioned in this parable but the sower in the parable of the wheat and the tares is Jesus himself (Mt 13:37). This can certainly apply today to anyone who faithfully proclaims the message of Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).

The second element is the seed. Luke makes it clear that the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11; Mark 4:14). Like a seed, the Word of God has life in it…spiritual life (Hebrews 4:12; Romans 10:17).

The third element is that of the soil. The soil represents the heart of man. There are four different types of soil and each represents a different type of heart toward the Gospel. The seed that fell beside the road (v4) represents the indifferent heart. The seed that fell on rocky places (v5-6) represents the impulsive heart. The seed that fell among the thorns (v7) represents the indulgent heart. The final soil is the seed that fell on the good soil (v8) representing the intelligent heart. The first three soils are all unbelievers while the fourth soil is a genuine believer.

But what if the parable had been the parable of the pass play? What if instead of the sower there was the quarterback? What if instead of seed it was a football? And what if instead of four soils there was four receivers. We could call the seed that fell beside the road, “the interception.” We could call the seed that fell on rocky places, “the incompletion.” We could call the seed that fell among the thorns, “the penalty.” And we could call the seed that fell on good soil, “the touchdown.”

Jesus told the parable of the sower to many listeners (13:1-2). He was using this parable to teach that just because large crowds were following Him did not mean that they were all genuine believers. As Jesus told the story, chances are that his listeners could look around and see a man sowing seed…perhaps Jesus pointed at him. Jesus then told the interpretation of the parable to the disciples and a few other genuine believers (13:18-23)

The first scenario in the parable is the seed that fell beside the road (v4). As the sower spread his seeds, some would fall beside the road which was a narrow path separating one field from another where travelers walked. This soil would be untilled and packed down hard. Seeds that fell on this soil could not penetrate the ground and take root. Because these seeds lay exposed, one of two results would take place. They would either get trampled by people walking on them (Luke 8:5) or the birds would come and eat them.

We could call this the indifferent heart or the unresponsive hearer. This soil represents one who hears the Word but does not understand it (Matthew 13:19), most likely due to a hardness of heart (Matthew 13:15). The birds which eat the seeds represents the Devil or the Wicked One (Luke 8:12). Paul calls this person one who is blinded by Satan to the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). In a football context, this would be the interception.

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