Sexagesimal Sunday 2016

Bible Text: Luke 8:4-15 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2016

Just like last week, the story isn’t about you, it’s about Jesus. The grace of Christ. The generosity of the Lord. Because, again, we have a parable telling us of something that wouldn’t fly in the real world. In the real world you don’t pay everybody the same no matter how much or how little they work. And when you sow seed, when you plant crops, you don’t just throw the seed all over the place. I’m no farmer, but the last time I checked, don’t you plant the seed in well-ordered rows in good soil? Not this farmer. He’s chucking the seed all over the place. It lands on the path. It lands in the thin soil. The thorns. The good dirt. Jesus’ Word isn’t targeted. It’s for everyone. The whole world. This Good News, that Jesus died for sinners and rose again; the preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name; it’s for everyone. Everywhere. Any time. Any place. That Good News is proclaimed; preached; spoken; delivered. The Son of God came into this world to accomplish our salvation. To deliver us from our sins. To conquer sin and death. To die and rise. Then He ordained preachers and they ordained preachers and the Lord keeps sending preachers so that His Good News is sown and scattered to the ends of the earth. Far and wide. Near and far. Everywhere. A Savior. For you.

But wait! The devil! Like birds snatching up the seed from the path, the devil comes and snatches away the Word from people so they don’t believe. Then there’s the sinful flesh! The Old Adam gives in so easily to temptation. The Word might take root a little bit but it’s thin roots. The Old Adam lets tempation wither away faith. And then the world! The Word gets choked because the person who hears it is overcome by the worries and cares of the world about all sorts of things. These are the things that could rob us of the Word. They just are. It’s not as if the Word is not strong. It’s that there are things trying to destroy the Word and faith in Christ and the devil, the world, and our sinful natures are working together to make that happen. In simple terms this is the answer to the question: Why do some people hear the Word but don’t believe? Why do some people stop coming to church? Why did they get confirmed and then never come back? Why were they baptized but now you never see them? What happened to the ones who heard the Word but are nowhere to be found? Jesus answers it. These enemies snatch, wither, and choke the Word. And without the Word, we will bring forth no good fruit. Fruits of faith which trusts in Christ and fruits of good works which serve our neighbor.

So which one are you? Path? Thin soil? Thorny ground? Good dirt? Wait a minute… I’ll tell you which one you are. You are the disciples to whom Jesus says, “To you has been made known the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” You are the ones who are warned by the “seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing” words of Jesus to pay attention and treasure this saving Word. You are the ones to whom the Lord has given His Word and planted it and brought forth fruit. You are the disciples who have been given the “God’s-eye” view of how this works: the Word is for everyone. Splashed upon you in baptism. Fed to you in the Supper. Preached into your ears. Your repentance is to cry out to Jesus that you don’t want to be unseeing or unhearing, but that His Word would do its work in you. Your clinging to Jesus is to trust in Him that He will protect the Word in you from the devil birds, the thing soil of your sinful flesh, and the thorns of the world in order to bring forth a good crop from you. Here we come before Jesus and say, “Yes, Lord, it would be so easy to let the devil have it or let it wither or be choked to death. Yet you have promised me mysteries. Your death and resurrection. Your forgiveness. So plant your Word in me and make me a true believer who bears fruit. The fruit of faith which grows stronger as it trusts your good and gracious Word and the fruit of good works which seek the best for and help the people around me and in my life.” In short, this parable teaches us to learn that the Word is the Lord’s, the growth of that Word is the Lord’s and it is all a gift that we want to have a part in. And the fact that you are hearing this parable preached right now is Christ’s own proof to you that He will do exactly that: save you from sin and death and bring forth in your life a great big harvest of faith and love. Because the Sower went out to sow, and He has sowed life and salvation in you through His Word. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.