By Elizabeth Prata
The reactions of the different people in the Bible to hearing the Word of the Lord are wide and varied.
Abraham, upon hearing that in his old age he will father a child: he fell on his face and laughed in delight. (Genesis 17:17).
Sarai: upon hearing she will bear a child in her old age: laughed in herself, scoffing. (Genesis 18:12)
Zechariah was told he will bear a child in his old age, the forerunner to the Messiah. He asked the angel a question, betraying his doubting heart. (Luke 1:18).
Mary was told she will bear the Messiah as a virgin. She asked the angel a question, opening her puzzled heart. (Luke 1:34).
Nicodemus sought Jesus and cautiously cautiously inquired of Him as to the truth. (John 1; 4).
The Shepherds immediately hastened to the place they were told the Babe lay. (Luke 2:15).
Felix conversed with Paul on an intellectual level, but postponed his decision, alarmed at thoughts of judgment. He played along with Paul, hoping to get money from him. (Acts 24:25-26).
Demas initially heard with gladness keeping Paul company even in jail, but strayed off The Way, eventually apostatizing completely. (2 Timothy 4:10).
Me? I rejected talk of Jesus, because I did not like the cross or the blood or being called a sinner or the Judgment. Yet by grace of God and His foreordained plan, I knew, knew there had to be a creator. The world existed. It was too beautiful and complex to have banged into existence from nothing. The two spiritual ideas, that I knew I was a sinner (deep down, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness,) and also that it was obvious there was a creator, stayed in me causing tension and angst. In His timing eventually He gave me the grace to believe in the Gospel.
The Bible records for us the varied reactions to the Word of the Lord through His Gospel. We have seen and are to expect this variety of reactions. The Bible records the behaviors of many individuals who match these reactions. Judas hid his unbelief so well the other disciples thought Jesus was speaking of them when He announced one wold betray Him, rather than suspect Judas.
The Parable of the Soils Explained
Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
The same is true today. When we share the Gospel, some mock, some consider, some question, some reject…but keep on persevering in sharing the Good News. Some of those seeds will land on good soil. We will see them in heaven.
Parable of the Soils (Ligonier devotional)
Truth For Life/Alistair Begg sermon (36-min) Parable of the Soils