Matthew 13, 18-19
Something to read
Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Here, Jesus is explaining his parable of the sower to his disciples. He often chose to speak in parables and proverbs, usually leaving his ‘point’ open to discussion.
But sometimes his disciples couldn’t cope with that. Can you picture Jesus rolling his eyes and thinking, 'Okay, I’ve got to explain. I’d rather not - but if you insist...' ?
In our culture, we are even more insistent on people spelling out their message. Poetry, rhetoric, story-telling and ambiguity are not what we want from our public figures. (A preference that, ironically, gets us no closer to the truth of things.)
Perhaps the use of parables tells us that Jesus wanted the listener to play his or her part in coming upon truth: that anything handed over on a plate could never really be true.
And Jesus’ explanations are often even more mysterious than his parables, so he never really compromised on being ambiguous!
Something to do
Find one of Jesus' sayings or parables that you find difficult to understand. During a period of quiet and solitude, read it aloud very slowly several times. Let your mind dwell upon it.
Don’t try to decide what it means but approach the reading as a conversation with God and an opportunity for you to draw closer to the Truth that is Jesus.
Something to pray
Lord Jesus, thank you that the words you spoke refuse to let us be lazy in our faith, even when that is what we want.
Help us to be comfortable with your rich but mysterious parables, with playing our own part in finding ‘truth’ and with the fact our faith is a conversation - not a manifesto handed down to us.
Today’s contributor is Anna Potts, a former Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid