Some Thirty, Some Sixty, and Some a Hundredfold

The ultimate sower of the word was Jesus. Before He embarked on His ministry, all Four Gospels record the Spirit descending on Him in the figure of a dove (Mt.3.16, Mk. 1.10, Lk. 3.22, Jn.1.32). John the Baptist indicated that the Spirit remained on Jesus: Then John gave this testimony:I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (Jn.1.32-34 NIV). Therefore, every instance of Jesus’ ministry was enabled by the Spirit. Also, John the Baptist’s ministry was empowered by God’s Spirit since: and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born (Lk. 1.15b NIV). Christians also are to give the word, as the situation arises, being enabled by the Spirit: making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5.16-18 NIV). Col. 4.6 also implies the Spirit by the metaphor of salt: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (NIV).

Just recently I heard a message on the Sower and the Soils from the Gospels. Of course, I have read, studied, and heard many sermons on this familiar parable given by Jesus. This time, I finally realized the meaning of the various results (30, 60, 100 grains) of the good soil. The parable and its interpretation by Jesus is found in the three Synoptic Gospels: Mt. 13.3-9, 13.18-23; Mk. 4.2-9, 4.13-20; Lk. 8.4-8, 11-15. Jesus did not interpret the meaning of the grains, but it is obvious if one thinks spiritual thoughts about it. The grains sown was the word preached or witness given. Therefore, the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold are Spirit enabled witnessing and preaching opportunities.

Perhaps I focused on the negative soils to make sure I did not have any of them or avoid those same tendencies in my life. Maybe I should have meditated on the figure more or tried to find the meaning in a commentary. By the way, the best commentary on the bible is the bible itself. If we would just read it more in context, and, with more frequency, then we build ‘live memory’ or an accessible ‘data bank’ of biblical truth which helps us combine the various passages to make sense of the whole.

Anyway, the figure of the parable is clear: the grains are just what has been previously dispersed, grains of witness and preaching. Neither Jesus, Paul, nor the others won over everyone to whom they witnessed. Therefore, it is our responsibility to give the word; but, the enlightening by The Spirit and giving of faith belongs to God. We should seek to give His word, but, leave all the results to God.

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