When we read Jesus’ parables, it’s easy to ask “what does this mean” and wonder if Jesus told parables to confuse his audience. A literal reading of the Parable of the Soils seems to indicate that. But what most people don’t realize is that Jesus does something with this parable that he doesn’t do with any of his other parables – he bookends it with the words “to hear.” Whoa! Until this phrase is set within the unfolding narrative of the Bible, it’s impossible to understand what Jesus is doing to help and challenge his audience to understand his words, and why he shockingly quotes Isaiah to prove it. He wants his audience to be like a bumper crop. But in order to do so, they must be willing to not only listen to the word of God but obediently and courageously walk it out. As disciples of Christ, we must do the same, and this parable instructs on how to do so!
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