February 15, 2009 - Sexagesima

Today's Reading: Luke 8:4-15

Daily Lectionary: Job 11:1-20; John 5:19-29

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do some people hear Christ's Word and believe it and others don't? Why do some people fall away from the faith? Jesus gives the explanation in His Parable of the Sower. Some people have Christ's Word snatched away from them by the Devil. Others believe for a little while and then fall away when temptations come. Still others hear God's Word but give it up because they'd rather concern themselves with the cares and riches of this life.

The truth is, no one can keep God's Word in them. Only the Holy Spirit can keep the Word in us and cause it to bear fruit. Some preachers will tell you that you become a Christian by grace but then you have to stay a Christian by your own effort. If we read Jesus' parable to learn what WE have to do or not do, then we shall read it wrongly.

Notice how the farmer in this parable isn't like other farmers. This farmer takes the seed and scatters it all over the place. The Lord sends His Word into this world through preaching. That is God's grace. His grace is in Jesus who dies for our sins on the tree. But His grace doesn't stop there! His grace and mercy are also given in the preaching of the Gospel. That the Lord has given you a pastor to preach Christ into your ears is His mercy and grace. God's grace and mercy are that He has baptized you, absolved you and given you the body and blood of Christ.

Jesus tells His disciples that it is given to them to hear and know the parable. It is given to you, too, as a gift. With Jesus' explanation of this parable, you have the gift of hearing that it is not YOU who produce fruit but the Holy Spirit working through Christ's Word to bear much fruit in you. This parable teaches us that it is all by grace. We don't keep the Devil away or win over temptations by our own power. It is the grace of God in Jesus Christ which does these things and brings up in your life the fruits of the Word working in you. It's all His Word. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O God, because You know that we dare not put our trust in anything that we do, mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for Sexagesima)