We are living in a forgiven world. Last week we saw how all sin is forgiven but some are too proud to receive this forgiveness and their pride places them outside the grace that is in Jesus. (Mark 3:28-29)
This week we see this worked out in the parable of the sower. In the meeting someone shared how often truth is hard to accept but sometimes can be smuggled into our hearts through a story, giving it a chance to work. Often I wonder if the familiarity of the parable of the sower means we don’t let it work and also we forget where it appears in the story of Jesus.
Again there is a large crowd, nobody is turned away; there is abundant provision. Jesus throws his teaching out to each one. We have seen how he devotes much time to teaching those who do not want to hear him or want to see who he is; but he stills reaches out to them.
God’s blessing is to those who are willing to hear, inside or outside.
Jesus has gathered a new people to himself and is revealing the secrets of God’s kingdom to those on the inside.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Not perceiving this and not understanding are because of pride; Jesus message is plain to the humble who accept its revelation. The verse below turns on rejection of forgiveness; the outcome is the root of the problem. Every sin is forgiven but they refuse to turn,
“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
Jesus discerns pride in the hearts of the disciples saying to them,
“Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
Even though they are inside, they are on a journey from the outside, into this truth. Jesus is calling them and us inside, into a new understanding, a revelation of the kingdom. We all hear it but the ground of our hearts is not always ready to receive it. Jesus’ mercy is to reveal this in the parables spoken so that all can hear and turn and be forgiven.
And why might we not hear? The answer is in the parable. It’s a daily reality that God is speaking to each and everyone of us. Pride makes us feel that this story is for those outside but actually it is discovering what is inside us.
Pride may also make us feel we are on the outside but hopefully the story will work its way into us and the message of abundant grace will have its effect.
And what of the fruit spoken of?
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.