- How does Luke use the quote from Isaiah?
- What parts are quoted and what parts are omitted?
- What changes do they make to “the parable”? Why?
- Are there any discernible reasons why they make the changes?
In typical Luke fashion his excerpt from Isaiah is the shortest of all the synoptic writers. Luke doesn’t waste words making his point. He has an economy of words when it comes to unfolding the story. He chooses the most well known part of the quote from Isaiah to represent the rest of it. “SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.” He goes for the heart. You look but don’t see. You say you “see” but in actual fact you don’t see at all. You say you “understand” but you don’t understand at all. Hence you may not see and you may not understand. Seeing and understanding come by revelation from the Lord. But if your heart it closed and you will not see; then the end result is you may not see. Not “may” in the sense of might not but “may” in the sense that you will not be allowed to see with a closed, hardened heart. It is the perfect analogy to the hardened heart of Pharaoh from Gem 877. Pharaoh hardened his heart to the point where God sealed him in his hardness of heart. The same point is being made here. Luke does it with panache. The follows it with Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. None of the others use this way to open the parable. Mark launches straight into the parable. Matthew says “Here then the parable.” Luke’s approach links it very directly to all that has gone before about mysteries and parables. Effectively he saying “You want to know the mysteries? Well actually you cut yourself off from the mysteries and they will remain mysteries because of your hardened hearts. The seed is the word of God. Pay attention to the way you pay attention (or not) of the Word of God because this parable is all about YOU and the Word of God.
I have selected all of Luke’s unique additions and changes to the parable and listed them below:
- 12 the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.
- 13 “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
- 14 “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
- 15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Notice Luke makes it a matter of belief and faith twice. It is all a matter of guarding your heart against temptation. The temptation to apostasy: to abandon their faith, lose their faith, defect and fall away. Your faith and trust in God must be on-going. The devil will do anything at all to keep a Christian from the Word and its application to your life. He doesn’t even mind you reading the Word and being serious about it as long as he can side track you to keeping it in your head and not allowing it drop 30 cms to your heart. The Word of God must always be applied to our own lives. If it is not to be all a farce.
When I first became a Christian I didn’t know anything about the Bible. I started from “ground zero”. I had a thirst and hunger to know about the Bible. I raced through the series of Navigator books in the basic at a rate of one a day. Reg Ackland, who mentored me, would tell me “Ian you have to slow down and let it affect you life. The message has to drop 18 inches from your head to your heart.” The application of the Word of God to your life is the key. All else is like Paul says about “gifts without love” – a clanging gong or an empty sound. Guard your heart for out it comes the well spring of life.
You need to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. There is no other way to know the will of God than by knowing the Word of God. The Will of God and the Word of God are symbiotic, inseparable. Note how Luke in the telling of the parable the first time indicated the issue for the rocky soil was moisture. But now he has abandoned that premise and return to the standard statement of Mark – the problem is shallow roots. Actually it is both. I remember from the past my first pastor Dick Hemmings in Matamata saying you can’t get the Rhema Word (anointed quickened word for your life) unless you are in the Logos Word (saturate with the Word of God generally). Many want the quickened Word, the Word that leaps off the page at them and gives them guidance. But friends, you need to understand something. If you are not washing your life with the water from the Word of God every day, it is a joke or a farce to be expecting a quickened word just for you. It is like the person who rushes to the Bible and opens it at random seeking for “a word from God”. But if you haven’t been saturating yourself in the life giving Word, all else is a sham. You are more likely to be led astray than to be truly led. It is like the joke of the guy who opens the word seeking for guidance and his eye lands on the verse “and Judas went out and hung himself”. Not liking “that guidance” he closes the Bible and open it again seeking guidance and his eye falls on the verse “go and do likewise”. Shutting and opening it again he receives “whatever you do, do it now.” Guidance must be tested in the light of our commitment to Bible Reading.
In essence there are four applications of the soil to Bible reading.
- The hardened
- The superficial
- The double minded
- The practitioner
Some never let the Word in. Is your heart so hardened and trampled down that nothing can penetrate? Soften the ground by breaking it up and opening your life to God. Maybe forgiveness of someone from the past is the first step.
Some never let the Word take root. Is your problem that anything you do is like a fad? It is a latest fleeting thing you do but soon you will move on to a new fad. Stop and take time to put roots down and grow.
Some never grow up. Are too many other things choking your life? You just don’t have time for the Word of God? Too busy? Take stock and make changes. Your eternity is at risk. Don’t allow weeds to choke the Word. Hint: a weed is any unwanted plant. Do some weeding now.
Some grow up and mature and understand the word. Understanding comes from hearing the still small inner voice of the Holy Spirit. He is the best teacher of all. When was the last time you heard Him?
Time to take stock now and examine your habits and practices in the Word of God and seek to apply it.
Look at the three fold focus Luke gives us for the weeds – worries, riches and pleasures. Much could be said about this. I am not intending to say any more. Unless I get a storm of protest from you readers, we will move on next Gem and note how Luke and the others move on. We will look at the big picture and see how the pieces come together. The following Gem we will look at the matter of 30 60 100 .
Most people’s opinion of a good sermon is one that goes right over their head and hits their neighbour right between the eyes!Bob Gass
Your greatest obstacle to personal growth isn’t ignorance; it’s the illusion of knowledge. It’s in believing you’ve ‘arrived’.Bob Gass
There Is Only One Mission For The Man Who Loves God’s Word… That Is To “Live It”.Robb Thompson
The best translation is when you translate the Word of God into your daily life. You ought to be a living Bible.Rick Warren
When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.Corrie ten Boom