Jesus said, “This is the seed that fell on the good earth: they are those who, after hearing the Word, receive it in a pure and good heart and bear fruit in endurance.”
INI + AMEN.
Sexagesima is all about Sola Scriptura, “by Scripture alone.” Christ alone saves us sola gratia (by His grace, His favor alone), we receive this salvation sola fide (by faith alone), and we receive all of this sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone). We’re 60 days from celebrating what the Scriptures are actually all about: Jesus’ death and resurrection. As Paul says, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The Scriptures, tell us all about Jesus! Old Testament points forward to Him, and the New Testament points back to Him. He is the heart and soul of the Scriptures. Each page stained with His blood. Each page glowing with the light of His resurrection. The Bible, God’s Word, testifies of Him.
The Bible is God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that we would hear about Jesus. The Spirit inspired the written Word and so that written Word is also full of the Spirit, whose only job is to deliver faith in Jesus. And that’s another that the Bible, God’s Word, tells us about: Jesus. Since the Bible is full of the Spirit and is all about Jesus dying and rising for you, it’s for these two reasons that, as Hebrews it, “The Word of God is living and active.” It’s living, active, and also life-giving. And for it to be life-giving, it must then be given, and that gets us finally, to Jesus’ parable.
((2. The Lord sows His Word.))
“A sower went out to sow his seed,” but he sows his seed unlike any farmer ever would. There’s no plan. In fact, he’s reckless! He scatters seed on the road, on top of rocks, among thorns. No farming advice here. No need to run your planters down the road.
The sower is a picture of Jesus! Jesus sows the Word, preaches the message of salvation, His salvation, and He’s super abundantly generous about it! From our perspective, could seem reckless. “The sower sows; his reckless love Scatters abroad the goodly seed, Intent alone that all may have The wholesome loaves that all men need.”
“God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” All people means He puts His Word everywhere. The miracle at Pentecost makes total sense then, doesn’t it!? God wants the Good News, the Gospel, of what Jesus His Son has done to reach everywhere. So the Word, just like the seed in the parable, is scattered everywhere. The Holy Spirit’s continual Pentecost Work.
Many Gifts deliver the Good News of Jesus’ salvation by delivering that very salvation! God’s Word attached to water: Holy Baptism. God’s Word of Forgiveness delivered from a Pastor: Holy Absolution. God’s Word preached and taught by Pastors, proclaimed by all Christians. God’s Word attached to bread and wine: Holy Communion of Jesus’ body and blood for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Why so many ways? Reckless sowing! Scattered here, there, and everywhere! Deliver BAGS and BAGS of it! Baptism, Absolution, Gospel, Supper. Font—scattered. Pastoral Office—scattered. You speaking of Jesus, forgiving each other—scattered. The Supper—scattered. But it’s not just these Gifts that Deliver the Word. Your Bible does, too!
The Bible isn’t an Encyclopedia or a dictionary or a Middle East history book. It’s not just a book where we get right answers so we can pass confirmation. Scripture is God’s Word about Jesus. That’s what it’s about, and it’s FOR YOU. Scripture is His Gift to you. The Spirit caused the Word to be written by all its various authors so that you’d be able to hear it, so that you’d be able even to read it. By receiving it, you’re receiving Jesus and His salvation.
But the Lord doesn’t do His sowing just because. There’s a goal in mind. Just like when you plant in the spring. So it is with the Lord. The Lord wants there to be fruit. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus is that grain of wheat. You the fruit. And the same goes for the Word that delivers Jesus to you. The Word bears fruit.
((1. The Word bears fruit.))
The Word bears fruit because it creates life. When God speaks, that Word creates life. “Let the waters teem with living creatures.” “Let there be wild animals, cattle, and creeping things.” “Let there be birds in the heavens.” “And it was so.” So it is with the Word He scatters to you.
Jesus’ Resurrection Life in Baptism. A life free from sin through the Word of Forgiveness. Forgiveness, along with life and salvation, through the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood. “…whoever eats I will resurrect on the Last Day.” Your Scriptures, too, will create life in you.
The Word also prunes and produces fruit. God’s Word of Law will do the pruning. Cut off what isn’t producing. God’s Word of Gospel will enliven what is. He’ll make you into what He’s planned from forever for you to be: His child that passes His love and mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus on to those around you. His Word will also change the soil it meets, too. This is also why He’s reckless with the Seed.
“Isn’t My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that splits the rock in pieces?” (Jet 29) The Word will split your rocks. Burn up your thorns. We don’t actually want the Lord to change us. Doesn’t He love me just the way I am? No, not so much. He loves you in spite of the way you are, there’s a big difference, and His Son had to die because of who you are, what you are: a sinner. He loves you too much to leave you the way He found you. “My Word shall do what I please.” His Word will make you pleasing to Him. “God’s love doesn’t seek but rather creates what it desires.” (Luther, Heidelberg Disputation) “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress.”
It’s done in the receiving of the Word. Jesus says today, “After hearing, they receive it in a good heart.” The Word has the life and power to make it so. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Only He can make you good. He does through the Word. Makes you holy, by pruning and enlivening.
You know how many hours are put on your tractors. You can figure out exactly how long planting took you in a given season. In Jesus’ day, each day’s work, each day’s planting would’ve been 12 hours. For that they would’ve gotten a denarius. (Check out last week’s Gospel about that.) They had 72 planting hours a week.
There are 168 hours total in a week. 10,080 minutes. 1440 minutes a day. What’s 20 minutes a day (1%) to get through the whole Bible in a year? It’s not about the obedience of it, submission to it. Dead fruit. Though “despising of God’s Word” is breaking the 3rd Commandment. No, fruit, gift, life! That’s the reason for sowing! The reason Jesus sows the Word: to produce fruit. 20 minutes (1%) to make all 1440 minutes holy. To make you holy, forgive you, save you, even from you! He died for you. Talk about good fruit.
Sola Scriptura. By Scripture alone. Scripture, Bible, God’s Word—it’s all about Jesus, His death and resurrection for you. So it is with all the other ways God’s Word is scattered to you: Font, Preacher, even you, the Supper of His Body and Blood! “[The] Words along with the bodily eating and drinking are the main thing in the Sacrament.”
That’s how the Lord sows, scatters, almost recklessly to you. Why? So that His Word would produce fruit: faith toward God and love for each other. His Word produces fruit. Always does. Just look at the parable! It produced on the Good Soil of course. But it bore fruit among the thorns, on the rocks, and it would’ve produced on the path if the birds didn’t eat it.
His Word will produce fruit, even change the soils. Word like hammer and fire. Word gives life. Word delivers Jesus. Word delivers salvation. Word delivers forgiveness. And you get life, salvation, faith, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” Fruit of the Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit filled Word.
THE LORD SOWS—SCATTERS!—HIS FRUIT-PRODUCING WORD.
That’s what Sexagesima, the 60th Sunday before Easter, and Sola Scriptura are all about.
INI + AMEN.