Jesus Overcomes Oscillation
On the right hand, God wants you to know Him better. On the left, satan wants to diminish your knowledge of God. You can become sick from the teeter-tottering! What is so important that God wants you to know that satan doesn’t want you to know? What are the consequences of the choice you make? Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Mark 4.1-20 answers these and similar questions. Study with me.
- The crowd gathered, with eager ears to learn from Jesus. Verse 2 says that this parable was among ‘many things’ that He taught them. Take every opportunity to learn from Jesus! Think deeply about what He says.
- Verse 11 says that there were two opinions prevailing in the crowd. Some people wanted to know the ‘hidden truths of the kingdom of God’; others did not. Apparently, they were drawn only by His celebrity.
- Verse 12 quotes God’s words in Isaiah 6.9-10 lamenting the tragedy of mankind: some did not want to see and perceive the lie they were following and hear and understand the truth that would make them free from satan’s bondage. Their progeny still don’t!
- Deuteronomy 29.1-9 describes the ancestors of those in Jesus’ audience. This brings the question: how many miracles does it take to convince people of God’s love and daily provision? How many do you need? Name some that you have personally experienced. Name some that you were told about. Your experience of God will convince someone you tell of the reality of Hebrews 11.6 and, thereby, lead them to ‘prosper’ (Deuteronomy 29.9), succeed, and/or act wisely. Remembering the experiences will grow you confidence in God’s love and willingness (Ephesians 3.20-21).
- Are you curious? What are these truths that satan wants to keep from you? Who is this sower?
- Jesus told this Parable of the Sower to inform those with ‘ears to hear’ about secret truths of the kingdom of God. Remember that this is the same ‘kingdom’ that Jesus taught His hearers in Matthew 6.10 to pray for. Simply stated, the kingdom of God exists wherever His words rule. Whenever you demonstrate faith in what He has promised (Habakkuk 2.4, Romans 1.16-17) or obedience to His words of instruction (John 14.15), God’s kingdom has come to earth, like Jesus taught us to pray, right where you are. This is what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.
- Before you consider what truths are hidden in the Parable of the Sower, who is the sower? God is the Sower Who wants you to know about all of His ways for your success, prosperity, and wise actions. This is what He says in Jeremiah 9.23-24, Matthew 6.33, and John 14.26. His heart’s desire is for you to want to know and understand Him! He is eager to reveal Himself to you! Is that your desire? If so, how should you show it?
Meaning of the Parable
- God, the Sower, sows His word. See Luke 8.11. God has been sowing all along. He sowed His word in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, through the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Hebrew people, through Jesus to strip away the layers of man’s philosophies that covered the truth, and through the Holy Spirit to remind you that His ways are your best paths. Consider Solomon’s encouragement in Proverbs 4.13 and Jesus’ factual declaration in John 6.63.
- Leviticus 18.5 and Ezekiel 20.11 repeat God’s promise, although written hundreds of years apart. God never changes! Peter’s proclamation in Acts 4.12 is a summary statement of God’s promise and of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5.17-20.
- Jesus segmented His audience into four types of listeners, using the analogy of the farmer’s soil.
- In Mark 4.15, Jesus described some people as very shallow, quickly hearing but not paying attention to what is said. So, satan quickly passes another thought across their minds, and they are easily distracted. Note that satan wastes no time in trying to steal the nugget of value that God has given you; Matthew 13.19. What can these do to guard this new treasure from God?
- In Mark 4.16-17, Jesus described some people as more willing to listen to the ‘rock music’ of criticism other people blare at them. If you are concerned about what other people might think, you can bet that satan will send critics your way – to dissuade you from believing what the Bible says about Acts 4.12 for your eternal life, healing, finances, relationships, and all other areas of your life that Jesus can save you from satan’s destruction. What can these do to build the courage to turn down the discordant sounds?
- In Mark 4.18-19, Jesus transitions from people who succumb to external pressures to describe people who wrestle with the internal pressures to choose what they might have to give up.
- He gives three illustrations. ‘Cares of this world’ might be an addiction to televised broadcasts of news from around the world. Remember that news is usually defined as ‘dog bites man’; rarely good news; suffering is what satan wants the masses to see! ‘The deceitfulness of riches’ might be the perceived need to make the salary that matches the secular pipedreams that fill your head or the standard to which ‘want-to-bes’ aspire. ‘The desires for other things’ might be the aberrant lifestyles portrayed as pleasurable on the screen. But, lust is lust, no matter what name you dress it with! Consider 1 John 2.15-17. You can only spend yourself on these for your brief years on earth, but where will you spend eternity? What can each of these do to enjoy the future today?
- So, what is the hidden meaning of the Parable of the Sower? Jeremiah 15.16 says that he understood it. King David’s understanding is seen in Psalm 119.1-8. Hosea 14.9 expresses his understanding. The Apostle Peter summarized it best in John 6.68.
Jesus gave the prescription for overcoming oscillation in John 8.31-32. Just do it!