The Human Choice - 22
PARABLES OF THE SOWER
Jesus - M't. 13:4-9. A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the footpath; and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil; it sprouted quickly because it had no depth of earth, but when the sun rose the young corn was scorched, and as it had no root it withered away. Some seed fell among thistles; and thistles shot up, and choked the corn. And some of the seed fell into good soil, where it bore fruit, yielding a hundredfold or, it might be, sixtyfold or thirtyfold. If you have ears, then hear. 13:24-30. A man sowed his field with good seed; but while everyone was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel among the wheat, and made off. When the corn sprouted and began to fill out, the darnel could be seen amongst it. The farmer's men went to their master and said, "Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? Then where has the darnel come from?" "This is an enemy's doing", he replied. "Well then," they said, "shall we go and gather the darnel?" "No," he answered; "in gathering it you might pull up the wheat at the same time. Let them both grow together till harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers, 'Gather the darnel first, and tie it in bundles for burning; then collect the wheat into my barn.'"
These parables illustrate how different people will react to the Christian Revelation and also show His understanding, both of what He is doing and the nature of those to whom the message is being brought. There is also, in the parable of the darnel, the warning that Satan will enter into the Revelation and sow evil to mislead people, but in the end those who prefer and accept the evil will be eliminated. Do not believe those who say that evil does not penetrate the worldly Church.
The segments end with:
Jesus - M't. 13:52. When, therefore, a teacher of the law has become a learner in the kingdom of Heaven, he is like a house-holder who can produce from his store both the old and the new. Do not disregard the lessons of history. Those who do not learn from the past fall into the same mistakes. For example: those who today think immoral lifestyles represent a new age and happily accept the social engineering that infuses a selective blindness to the hard-learned lessons of past disasters.
Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees.
Jesus - M't. 15:7-9. What hypocrisy! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "This people pays me lip-service, but their heart is far from me; their worship of me is in vain, for they teach the doctrines and commandments of men."
This again is a warning equally for the teachers of today who seek to adapt the Christian Revelation to the ideas and desires of mankind so as to improve their own influence and social image. The blind, and those they lead, fall into the ditch.
Jesus - M't. 15:11-20. A man is not defiled by what goes into his mouth, but by what comes out of it. ...
Do you not see that whatever goes in by the mouth passes into the stomach and so is discharged into the drain? But what comes out of the mouth has its origins in the heart; and that is what defiles a man. Wicked thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander - these all proceed from the heart; and these are the things that defile a man; ...
This should not be taken to mean that some things we may eat cannot do us physical harm. Jesus, here, is intent on impressing the importance of our spiritual health and ultimate welfare; the health of the physical body should not be given preference over the health of the spiritual body. The spiritual body has a great influence on our physical health but our physical health has little influence on our spiritual nature even though it may influence our mood.
Some have been misled; observing that extreme character changes may take place as a result of chemical intake they assume that human character is therefore a product of our physical make-up and that there is no separate spiritual entity.
Such conclusions are the result of lack of faith; people who fall away easily are as the seed that fell on rocky ground; before the hot breath of Satan their doubts overcome them.
We see in the Gospels numerous warnings of the existence of evil spirits who may take over possession of a body. People may have attendant alien spirits who, while all is well, are powerless to do harm. They, like the many alien viruses and germs that live with us, are harmless until we suffer poor nourishment. If the chemistry of our bodies is changed to the extent that alien viruses flourish then we suffer ill-health.
The same applies in relation to alien spirits; if the chemical balance of our body is changed (be it by emotional trauma or chemical addition) to suit the alien spirit, then that spirit is liable to take over. This is more likely to happen if the resident spirit is weak.
Some chemicals, such as alcohol, make the body/spirit relationship unworkable.
Those who seek truth with faith will not be misled by first impressions of what is happening but will try to get to the truth of the matter. Those who sincerely seek, and are open to truth, will find it.
Next we find Jesus and his disciples being pestered for help by a Canaanite woman.
Jesus - M't. 15:24-28. I was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel ... It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.
Here we see a firm reminder that the social advice given by Jesus was intended for a spiritual brotherhood within which advice to "turn the other cheek" is appropriate but is not meant to apply to spiritual enemies. However the apparently harsh stand is terminated when it becomes clear that the woman is a spiritually compatible person.
Jesus - M't. 15:28. Woman, what faith you have! Be it as you wish!
Jesus would, of course, have known the situation from the start. This exercise was a lesson for His followers.
Jesus - M't. 16:24-27. If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; he must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost; but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self. What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self? Or what can he give that will buy that self back?
This is another form of the advice that we must be born again. That we must leave self behind if we want to be a follower of Jesus clarifies the comment that we must be born again; and also the comment that we must become as children.
Rebirth is not an instant conversion but the beginning of a new life of growth and learning. We must desire truth if we are to continually sacrifice the 'self' based on false teachings and earthly desires. No earthly wealth can buy back your true self.
Jesus - M't. 17:20. If you have faith no bigger than a mustard-seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there!", and it will move;
This is to indicate something about the nature of God and creation.
Jesus - M't. 18:3-6. I tell you this: unless you turn round and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Let a man humble himself till he is like this child ... if a man is cause of stumbling to one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung round his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Another reminder of the need to find our true self; we need the trust and faith of children. This advice is given in association with the need to respect the faith of children. The great importance of finding our true self is shown by the number and variety of references. This is a sacrifice that is easier for those who are humble.
Jesus - M't. 18:15-17. If your brother commits a sin, go and take the matter up with him ... If he will not listen, take one or two others with you, so that the facts may be duly established on the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the congregation; and if he will not listen even to the congregation, you must then treat him as you would a pagan.
Another reminder that we should go to great lengths to accommodate our spiritual family but, once that is seen to be futile, there is no accommodation for evil. It is not judgmental to recognise and reject evil and those involved. This is followed by Peter asking: Lord how often am I to forgive my brother if he goes on wronging me ...?
Jesus - M't. 18:22. I do not say seven times; I say seventy times seven.
Jesus then goes on to tell the parable of the king and the debtor who owed millions. The moral of this parable was that the person forgiven a large debt should be equally generous to those indebted to him.
These stories should be seen in association. First there is the brother who sinned; then the brother who persistently wronged, and took advantage of his brother's generosity; then there is a parable of the servant forgiven a large debt but then unwilling to be considerate of another who owed him a small sum. There are situational divisions; we can be very generous in accommodating personal impositions but that accommodation does not extend to the accommodation of evil or to associate with the works of those possessed by evil spirits.
Jesus - M't. 19:17. ..if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments. ... Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false evidence; honour your father and mother; and love your neighbour as yourself.
Note that He says: 'if you wish to enter into life'. Lives built on false premises are fantasy lives; they have no substance. To find our real self we must be prepared to make continual sacrifice of our false 'self' and devote ourselves to bringing our lives into alignment with reality; we will then find it easy to obey the commandments. "Your neighbour" of course means your spiritual neighbour.
My yoke is good to bear, my load is light, sayeth the Lord. The social science of Jesus is direct and honest. Comment and parable bring out that although perfection is impossible for men, God makes allowance and gives justice to those willing to work in the cause of truth. Those who come late are rewarded equally as those who come early: Matthew 20.
MARK: The 2nd witness.
With this and following witnesses I will not, as a general rule, repeat items of witness already covered.
Jesus - M'k. 1:15. The time has come; the kingdom of God is upon you; repent, and believe the Gospel.
Jesus - M'k. 10:42-44. You know that in the world the recognised rulers lord it over their subjects, and their great men make them feel the weight of authority. That is not the way with you; among you, whoever wants to be great must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the willing slave of all. And so it is today. choice22.htm
.../Back to Contents Page