Read: Luke 8:1-15
- See Matthew 13:2-23 and Mark 4:1-20 for parallel accounts.
- v. 1 good news of the kingdom of God The kingdom of God was Jesus’ major theme when he taught. It refers to the rule and reign of God that comes to us through Jesus Christ.
- V. 2 Mary (called Magdalene) Bible scholars indicate that this is not the sinful woman that anointed Jesus in Luke 7 nor is it Mary of Bethany (John 11).
- V.3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household This The Herod referred to here is Herod Antipas who would later questioned Jesus shortly before his crucifixion (Luke 23:6-15). That the wife of the manager of Herod’s household is a follower and supporter of Jesus indicates that the gospel was reaching the highest levels of Judean society. Susanna nothing else is known about this woman.
- V. 5 In that place and time, a farmer would go out and sow the seed and then cultivate the field. Sometimes there would be a well worn path through the field which made the ground hard. Sometimes there was limestone rock underneath a thin layer of soil, so any plants which sprouted there would have very little water, nutrients or support from the soil. Sometimes there could be weeds as tall as six feet along the edge of the field with major root systems that compete for resources with any seedlings that sprouted in their midst, choking them out. Sowing would take place during the rainy season from October to December, plants would sprout in April and May resulting in a June harvest.
- V.8 He who has ears to hear, let him hear This sounds like encouragement but it is actually an imperative like “You had better listen!”
- V. 10 though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand This is not Jesus’ desire but a description of what happens: Those with a desire to learn from Jesus, “get it,” those who don’t want to learn from him don’t.
- V. 12 Matthew, Mark and Luke each uses a different term for the devil as they write about this event. Mark uses “Satan” in 4:15 and Matthew uses “the evil one” in 13:19, while Luke uses “the devil.”
- V.15 persevering producing a crop takes time and endurance, both on the part of the seed and the farmer
- What did the women that were supporting Jesus and his disciples have in common?
- What does the seed represent in Jesus’ story?
- In verses 11-15, Jesus explains his parable. What do each of the four kinds of soil represent?
- Through his story, Jesus is saying that the receptivity of a person’s heart when they hear God’s Word plays an important role in determining whether that Word bears fruit in their lives. How would you describe an unreceptive heart? How would you describe a receptive heart?
- Why does the sower spread his seed everywhere, even on hard, rocky or weed-infested ground?
- List the hard, rocky or wee-infested parts of your heart. Then give them to Jesus and ask him to make those parts of your heart softer and more receptive to him and his Word.
- As you interact with people in your everyday life, do you encounter hard, rocky or weed-infested ground? What are some ways that you can gently, lovingly sow God’s Word (through word or deed) into those situations?