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The Parable of the Soils 1/4 (Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23)

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This first image considers the seed that fell ‘along the path (Matt.13:4,19).

First, Jesus tells us that the seed that is sown is the word. Now, the ‘word’ (of God, of the Kingdom, of the Gospel) is ultimately Jesus Christ Himself, as He is known in His Crucifixion and Resurrection (1 Cor.1:17-18ff). Thus the ‘seed’ is represented in this image as the Crucified Lord (illumined by the light of His resurrection) whose feet become a scroll that descends to the soil below. He Himself is the word / seed.

The soil is depicted in the form of a man lying on the ground (representing the spiritual death into which all are born, the state that is—like an un-sown field—waiting to receive and produce life). Jesus tells us that the soil ‘along the path’ is like someone who hears the word but does not understand it (that is, does not recognize the glory of God in the slain and risen Jesus). However, He goes on to tell us that this inability to understand is ultimately the work of ‘the evil one’ (Matt.13:19) Therefore, the man represented in the soil has a raven pecking at his right eye (bringing about spiritual blindness), and another raven has snatched up the seed of the word so that it cannot sink in and bear fruit.

Some will hear the gospel of the glory of the slain and risen Jesus Christ—who is the image of God—and it will not move them in the least. Certainly, they intellectually understand the word, but they do not—cannot—spiritually understand it, they cannot receive it as the word of their life and of God’s all-satisfying beauty…in this sense, the seed of the word is snatched away as if by hungry birds. Both Jesus and Paul tell us that, ultimately, this blindness is due to the workings of the evil one, the ‘god of this world’ who blinds peoples minds and prevents them from discerning the glory of God in the face of the crucified Christ. My hope is that this would not be the case for any reading these words.