The Context Is The Crowd

A reading for Tuesday, May 5, 2015: Luke 8:1-15.

The context for the parable Jesus tells is the crowd. Jesus looks around, at all those that have gathered to hear him teach, those that have provided resources for he and he disciples, as well as those from the towns and surrounding villages. He tells them a parable about the sower of seed so that the disciples would understand what is happening...

What if this parable was not about individual salvation at all? What if the point was not that we could or should make a decision for the word in our own lives, but in the community as a whole? What if Jesus is teaching the disciples how to interpret what they already know to be true about the crowd?

Some would be given faith, but lose it. Some would have faith only for a time. Some would be overwhelmed by the world around them in spite of their best efforts for faith. But some... and these are the reason we are filled with joy... some would hear the word and receive it for the benefit of the whole community. The crowd would be considered righteous because of these. They would provide the resources for the rest. They would help the word to spread. These are not better than the rest, instead they afford the rest the righteousness of God and the blessings of Jesus Christ.

This parable is very familiar to us. We have heard it and heard it. But do we realize it is told in the midst of a crowd. It's not just intended for individual salvation, but instead so that the disciples would know what nobody else understands. The goodness of God comes through relationships, through community, and through the gifts of God for the people of God. We are grateful for every one in our midst that is faithful... "these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance." For the benefit and blessing of us all!  


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