Teachers present information with an objective in mind.  There is a desired outcome when the information is provided, digested and applied.  This was, and is true even of the teachings of Jesus.  Most of the world today acknowledges Jesus at the very least, as a great teacher and when He taught He also had an objective in mind.  It may not always have been apparent, especially in His parable teachings.  In one of His earliest parables, Jesus spoke of a sower of seed upon four different types of soils or surfaces.  This parable interestingly enough follows on the heels of what many believe to be His greatest sermon, the Sermon on the Mount.  In that dissertation, Jesus presented a whole host of teachings regarding the kingdom of heaven, those who would find it, and the actions or lifestyles of those seeking God’s ways. 

We know from the explanation, to selected disciples, what primary lessons were being taught, but it is what isn’t stated that we shouldn’t discount.  We know that the four soils represent the hearts of those that hear the word and how they receive it.  Their reception ranges from no affect whatsoever, to one who receives it and is productive in bearing fruit.  Is there anything else can we learn that Jesus didn’t say?  Based on the proximity of this parable to the Sermon on the Mount I believe we can draw two additional conclusions.  One is that Jesus wants us to be aware of the heart and its potential for hardness and the other is self-examination.  .Many times in the scriptures, both Old and New Testaments we see examples of those with hardened hearts.  Many were those chosen of God to lead His people.  It doesn’t have to be that way!  It is said that forewarned is forearmed, and if we are aware of hardness of heart we can prepare ourselves to be more receptive to God’s teachings that will lead to His great blessings.    We are exhorted throughout scripture to examine ourselves and to correct any of our ways that don’t fit with the Lord’s plans and instruction.  No, this wasn’t what Jesus said about this parable but the totality of scripture bears these two things out.  What a tragedy it would be to hear the great things Jesus spoke of in His sermon on the mount only to have them to have landed on one of the first three soils.  How is your heart today in regard to God’s teaching?  Examine it for yourself!

Copyright © 2005, Nolan P. Rutter

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