Those Who Persevere: Luke 8:4-8, 11-15

Focus Passage: Luke 8:4-8, 11-15 (NIV)

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

 

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Read Luke 8:4-8, 11-15 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

When reading the different gospel writers, and how each describes Jesus’ parable about the farmer scattering seed, something Luke says in this event stands out in my mind because it is unique. This thing is actually one of the few differences in these three records of this parable. The unique statement Jesus shares comes at the close of Jesus’ explanation of what the parable means. When describing the good soil, Luke tells us Jesus says, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (v. 15)

Mark concludes Jesus’ words about this group by saying, “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:20)

Matthew concludes Jesus’ description about this group by saying, “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:23)

Each gospel writer that includes this parable has a different angle on the person who is like the seed falling on good soil. Mark’s people hear the word then accept it before ultimately producing a crop. Matthew’s people hear the word then understand it before producing their crops.

These two gospel writers draw out two key ideas that are both necessary. Knowledge must be accepted and understood before it can have the greatest impact in someone’s life. Looking at only Matthew and Mark might make us think that only accepting and understanding are needed to exponentially multiply what God has blessed us with. But if we only take these two gospel writers, we miss out on the crucial pieces of information that Luke describes.

Luke draws our attention to these people hearing the word, retaining it, and then persevering to produce a crop. Information must be accepted and understood, but it also needs to be remembered and applied to really make a difference. Luke might not be popular in this regard, but he may be the most honest: Growing a crop takes time, energy, and effort – and it only happens through perseverance.

But Luke also shares another characteristic of this group of people. Luke describes this group as “those with a noble and good heart.” (v. 15)

Luke’s description of the people who have God’s word in their hearts is a challenge for Christians everywhere. These people have a noble and good heart, they remember the gospel message, and they persevere until the end. It is the people Luke describes who have the greatest impact on God’s kingdom.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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