Week 8 - Responding to God

posted 25 Apr 2012, 09:26 by Peter Booth
Luke 8:4-15

In Israel's history many prophets talked about a Messiah who would come and be "God with us". The people of Israel assumed everyone would follow this Messiah. But in this passage Jesus tells a story that shows people respond differently to God's words.
 
In the first section of the passage (verses 5 to 8) Jesus tells a story about a farmer sowing seed. There are four types of ground the seed falls on:
- The footpath
- Among rocky ground
- Among thorns and weeds
- On fertile good soil
In each situation the seed is sown, what differs is the ground. Clearly the seed that falls on the good, fertile soil, will grow best and produce the best harvest.
 
But what does this mean? The disciples ask Jesus to explain this story - they want to understand what it means. Jesus says it is important to listen and to understand - it is good to ask what this means. In the rest of the passage (from verse 11) Jesus tells us what the story means.
- The seed represents God's words. It's worth thinking about what God's words are - they are the words that God speaks to us. This could be through the Bible, or through messengers from God. Jesus was God's son, and he spoke God's words to people.
- The seed that falls on the footpath stands for people who hear but then the message is quickly taken away by the devil so they don't believe. What things do you think could cause this to happen?
- The seed that falls on the rocky ground represents people who at first joyfully receive God's words but because they have no root they fall away when some problem or difficulty comes along.
- The seed that falls among the thorns and weeds represents people who hear God's words but then as they go on life's worries, riches and pleasures stop them from maturing. This refers to the many distractions there can be in life that stop us thinking about God's words, such as getting good exam results, being successful at work, having a family, being rich or famous, the list goes on. These things may not be bad things, but it is bad if they stop us from listening to God's words.
- Finally the seed that falls into the fertile soil represents those who hear God's words, keep it and by keeping on listening to God's words mature and produce a crop. I like to think of the crop as being more seeds - in other words speaking God's words to more people.
 
We finished by thinking about what this story says to give us some understanding about our own experience of God's words. I encourage you to think about this as well.

by Andy Gray
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