Sermon for Pentecost 3 – June 13, 2021

+3rd Sunday after Pentecost – June 13, 2021+

Series B: Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Mark 4:26-34

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Jesus the Sower”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Atop the state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska stands a 20 foot tall bronze statue of a man sowing seed with his out-stretched hand. It’s simply and aptly named, “The Sower.” A fitting image for a statue towering over the fertile plains and amber waves of grain.

 

It’s also a fitting image for today’s Gospel reading from Mark 4 as we hear Jesus’ parable of the Growing Seed. Only the main character in this story no statue or nameless farmer. Rather, the Sower is Jesus. And as is the case with nearly all of Jesus’ parables, Jesus is the main actor; and his word and promise are the center of the story.

 

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

 

Jesus begins this parable like many of his kingdom parables. The kingdom of God is like…a tree, a net, treasure in the field, or a growing seed.

 

Now when we hear that phrase, “the Kingdom of God”, we tend to imagine something fixed in space, like a castle or the boundaries of a kingdom. A better way to imagine this phrase is to switch it from a noun to a verb. The kingdom of God is the active rule and reign of God. Not static, but dynamic. The ruling and reigning activity of God in Jesus. The image here is of a good and gracious king actively caring for his people. Visiting his people with his mercy and salvation.

 

Jesus says it is this – the active rule and reign of God that has come in him. The kingdom of God, the rule and reign of God is what he is and what he has come to do. To teach, heal, cast out demons – yes; and most of all, to live, die, rise, and ascend for us.

 

Knowing that, Jesus’ parable of the Growing Seed is fairly straight forward. The man, or sower, is Jesus. The seed is his word, the Gospel. The ground represents those who live under God’s gracious rule and reign. The earth produces the grain automath, automatically. The rule and reign of God cause the seed, the word, to grow to maturity, just as those who believe in Jesus grow in him, all by his word and promise; and just like the seed, apart from human assistance. Eventually this growth leads to a harvest, a picture of the end times and the final judgment. Though not a negative judgment like when the weeds are thrown into the fire in other parables. Here’s there’s simply a ripe harvest that’s gathered and brought home. An image not of condemnation but of salvation; of not despair, but comfort.

 

So far so good, you might be thinking. The meaning or interpretation of the parable seems simple enough. But the next question that often comes to mind is, “what are we supposed to do with it?”

 

Perhaps the better question is not what do we do with the parable? but rather, what does Jesus intend for the parable to do with you? And to answer that it’s good to ask, “What is Jesus doing for his disciples with this parable?”

 

Looking at the context, Jesus delivers this parable to his disciples to comfort and encourage them; to steady or anchor them. To assure them that in him, in his word, in his life – the rule and reign of God is at work and Jesus is all they need.

 

Up to this point in Mark’s Gospel Jesus’ life and ministry don’t quite look like what the disciples expected from the Messiah. Sure, he’s done a few miracles. Healed a several people. Cast out some demons. But no grand displays of Messianic might and power. The Scribes think he’s working with Satan and even Jesus’ own family called him crazy.

 

And yet, despite all appearances to the contrary. Despite murderous rejections and betrayals to come. Despite his family’s own rejections. Despite storms that threaten to swamp the boat. Despite demoniacs that scream and rulers that threaten. Despite suffering, torture, and death by crucifixion, the Son of Man will rise. Jesus will be King. Jesus’ word will go out. Many will believe. Many will follow. Jesus’ word will do what he says. The harvest will come. And it will be abundant. For Jesus is the King. His rule and reign will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus’ word is enough. It is sufficient.

 

So it was for his disciples. So it is for you as well. Despite a pandemic and politics. Despite news reports and endless polls about how the church is shrinking. Despite living in a world where faithful Christian teaching is called bigoted hate speech and where Christians are mocked, ridiculed, or worse. Despite our own sin, our own temptations, and our own failures. Despite all appearances to the contrary, Jesus is ruling and reigning for you. God’s good and gracious rule and reign is here in Jesus, in his word, in his body and blood.

 

God’s word is enough. Jesus’ promises are sufficient. Like his disciples in the first century, Jesus the Sower rules and reigns over you as well.

 

And should you ever doubt or despair of that, remember the kind of King you have in Jesus. In Jesus we see this parable in action. Jesus is the promised Seed, sown in mystery within the womb of Mary; he quickly sprouts, grows, lives, dies, and is buried, like a seed into the earth. But then he rose from the ground again and bears the fruit of the new creation for you. Fear not. Jesus is the Sower. And you are his precious harvest over whom and in whom he rules and reigns. Now and forever.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com