The good soil bears fruit (Lk 8:15-8:15)

“As for those seeds

On the good soil,

These are the ones

Who,

When they hear

The word,

They hold it fast

In an honest

And good heart.

They bear fruit

With a patient endurance.”

 

τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον κατέχουσιν καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the seeds on the good soil (τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ) are the ones (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες) who heard the word (ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον) and held it or kept it fast (κατέχουσιν) with an honest and good heart (ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ).  They would bear fruit with a patient endurance (καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ).  This explanation of the sower parable about the good seeds can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:20, Matthew, chapter 13:23, and here, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Mark and Matthew indicated that Jesus said that the seeds sown on good soil were the people who heard the word and accepted it.  They then bore good fruit.  They yielded either 30-fold, 60-fold, or a 100-fold.  Matthew, had the reverse order of Mark, 100, 60, and 30, while Luke, has no number on the fruitful harvest.  Only about 25% of the seeds sown were effective.  Thus, only about 25% of the people hearing the word of the kingdom from Jesus would follow it.  The seeds or the word that fell on the path, on the rocky ground, or the thorns were ineffective.  However, even among the effective seeds that were on good soil, the word would have different results.  Some would yield 30 times, some 60, and some 100.  There was no magic formula.  The circumstances among the good hearers would also bring about a variety of responses and effectiveness.  How effective are the seeds of the word of God in your life?

The seeds on the rock have no roots (Lk 8:13-8:13)

“The seeds

On the rock

Are those who,

When they hear

The word,

Receive it with joy.

But they have no roots.

They believe

Only for a while.

In a time of temptation,

They fall away.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ ἀφίστανται.

 

Luke said that that the seeds on the rock (οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας) are like those who, when they heard (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν) the word (τὸν λόγον), received it with joy (μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται).  However, they did not have any roots (καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν).  They believed, but only for a while (οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν).  In a time of temptation or testing (καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ), they would fall away (ἀφίστανται).  This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, Mark, chapter 4:16-17, and here, almost word for word.  Mark and Matthew said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground were like the people who heard the word and immediately received it with joy.  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots, but only temporary roots.  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose, because of the word, they immediately stumbled and fell away.  Once again, the seeds were the word.  Listening to the word was not enough, if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  How deep are your believing roots?

The seeds on the rock (Lk 8:6-8:6)

“Some seeds fell

On a rock.

As they grew up,

They withered away,

Because of no moisture.”

 

καὶ ἕτερον κατέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν, καὶ φυὲν ἐξηράνθη διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ἰκμάδα.

 

This sower parable about the seeds on rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:5, Mark, chapter 4:5, and Luke here, with Matthew closer to Mark, almost word for word.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that some seeds fell on a rock (καὶ ἕτερον κατέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  As these seeds grew and sprung up (καὶ φυὲν), they withered away (ἐξηράνθη), because they had no moisture (διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ἰκμάδα).  Matthew and Mark had a more elaborate description about these unsuccessful seeds.  They said that this second group of seeds fell on rocky ground that did not have much soil.  Thus, the seeds sprang up quickly, even though they did not have much soil depth.  However, they were scorched when the sun rose and withered them up, because they did not have good solid roots.  Do you have good roots?

Build well!

“That one

Who heard his word

And acted on it is

Like a man

Building a house.

He dug deeply.

He laid the foundation

On a rock.

When a flood came,

The river burst

Against that house.

However,

It could not shake it,

Because it had been

Well built.”

 

ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν, ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the one who had heard his word and acted on it was like a man building a house (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν).  He dug deeply (ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν).  He laid the foundation on a rock (καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  When a flood came (πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης), the streams of the river burst against that house (ροσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ).  However, they could not shake it (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν), because it had been well built (διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:24-25, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said there that these wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house, but it did not fall, because it was built on a strong foundation.  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.  How have you built your house?

Explanation of the good seeds (Mk 4:20-4:20)

“These are the seeds

Sown on the good soil.

They hear the word.

They accept it.

They bear fruit,

Thirty,

Sixty,

And a hundredfold.”

 

καὶ ἐκεῖνοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν σπαρέντες, οἵτινες ἀκούουσιν τὸν λόγον καὶ παραδέχονται καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἓν τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν

 

This explanation of the good seeds can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the seeds sown on good soil (καὶ ἐκεῖνοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν σπαρέντες) are the people who hear the word (οἵτινες ἀκούουσιν τὸν λόγον).  They accept it (καὶ παραδέχονται).  They then bear good fruit (καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν).  They yield either thirtyfold (ἓν τριάκοντα), sixtyfold (καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα), or a hundredfold (καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν).  Mathew, chapter 13:23, has the reverse order of 100, 60, and 30, while Luke, chapter 8:15, has no number on the fruits of the harvest.  Only about 25% of the seeds sown were effective.  Thus, only about 25% of the people hearing the word of the kingdom will follow it.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  The seeds or the word that fell on the path, on the rocky ground, or the thorns were ineffective.  However, even among the effective seeds that were on good soil, the word would have different results.  Some would yield 30 times, some 60, and some 100.  There was no magic formula.  The circumstances among the good hearers would also bring about a variety of responses and effectiveness.

Fourth narrative

The fourth narrative section revealed the increasing opposition to Jesus.  Thus, his disciples had to prepare for his absence.  These instructions emphasized responsibility and humility.  Simon was renamed Peter, the rock upon which he was going to build his church, especially the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

While Jesus was preaching in the various towns, John the Baptist was put in prison.  The disciples of John questioned Jesus and Jesus responded.  Jesus then asked questions about John.  Was John more than a prophet?  Then Matthew had a series of Old Testament scriptural quotations about John.  How great was John the Baptist?  Was John Elijah?

Jesus warned that this was a childish generation that was indifferent as they kept on eating and drinking, as if nothing important was happening.  Jesus was against the various Galilean cities and towns, especially Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Jesus explained that there were hidden things from the wise ones, especially the relationship of the Father with the Son, but that the disciples had an easy yoke to bear.

Next came the question of eating on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees reacted against Jesus, but he used the example of David and the priests in the Temple to respond to them.  God was the Lord of the Sabbath.  Thus, when Jesus went into the synagogue, they asked him if he would heal anyone on the Sabbath?  Jesus compared sheep to human beings and then healed the man’s hand.  Thus, the Pharisees conspired against Jesus, while he took a low profile.

Jesus said that the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah was at hand in the servant of Yahweh.  Jesus cured the blind and mute man as the crowds were amazed.  However, the Pharisees compared Jesus to Beelzebul, the devil.  Jesus responded that a divided kingdom would not stand.  The Spirit of God was with Jesus.  The bandits tied up people before stealing from them.  You were either for or against Jesus.  They should be aware of the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then issued a series of sayings about a tree and its fruit.  He compared the Pharisees to a brood of vipers.  There could be good and bad treasures.  Words would either save or condemn them.

Jesus told them about the sign for this evil generation that was always seeking signs.  He was only going to give them the sign of Jonah.  Notice how the men of Nineveh reacted.  The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon.  The unclean spirit would return with other evil spirits.  The relatives of Jesus, his mother and brothers showed up, but Jesus said that he had a new family.

Then Jesus spoke in parables siting in a boat by the sea.  There was the parable of the sower with his lost seeds, where only a few of the seeds fell on good soil.  His disciples wanted to know why he was speaking in parables, so that Jesus explained why he used parables.  Once again, he referred to a prophecy of Isaiah.  He explained about the seeds on the rocky ground and the seeds among the thorns.  Finally, he explained the meaning of the seeds on good ground or path since they were the blessed ones.

Then there was the parable about the weeds among the wheat.  The slaves let the weeds grow and then separated them at harvest time.  There were other parables about the mustard seed and the yeast.  Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, but he explained these parables to his disciples, especially the sower, the field, and the seeds.  He explained the enemy and the burning of the weeds.  The punishment for the weeds came at the harvest end times.  Thus, the reward for the righteous will be at the end times.

The kingdom of heaven was like a treasure, like pearls, and like a fishing net.  Jesus explained the parables because the disciples did not understand them.  They were like new and old treasures.

Jesus was an astonishment in his own home town.  They all knew the family of Jesus.  Thus, he was a prophet without honor in his own country.

Herod thought that Jesus was a resurrected John the Baptist, but he was afraid of John the Baptist.  At his birthday party, Herod granted the wish to have the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Meanwhile, John the Baptist’s disciples buried him.

Jesus was worried as he was healing the sick people.  The disciples complained about the crowds, so that Jesus told them to give them something to eat.  However, they only had five loaves and two fish.  Then Jesus blessed the five loaves of bread and distributed them to the crowd.  There were even leftovers from this crowd of five thousand people.

The disciples left in a boat, so that Jesus prayed alone.  The boat was in the middle of the sea when Jesus walked on water to come to them.   Peter talked to Jesus and then attempted to walk on the water.  Jesus then saved Peter who recognized Jesus as the Son of God.  Then there were the healings at Gennesaret, where Jesus cured the sick.

The Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Jesus to ask him why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.  Jesus responded by telling them to honor their parents since there was hypocrisy in their traditions.  He cited Isaiah about vain worship.  He told them to hear and understand.  They should watch what came out of their mouth rather than what went into their mouth as defilement.  The Pharisees were offended, but Jesus called them blind guides.  Peter wanted to understand more so that Jesus explained the mouth should speak from the heart.

Jesus went to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon where he met a Canaanite woman.  He said that he was only going to the lost sheep of Israel, but this Canaanite woman persistently asked for help.  Jesus refused again saying that he could not feed the dogs.  However, she responded that dogs eat crumbs from the table.  Jesus said that she had great faith and healed her.

As Jesus healed the crowds of people in the mountain near the Sea of Galilee, he had compassion for them.  Where will they get food?  His disciples said that they had seven loaves.  Jesus then gave thanks over them and distributed the bread to four thousand men as there was a second multiplication of bread loaves.

Jesus went to Magadan.  There the Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven.  Once again, Jesus said that there are weather signs, but he would only give this evil generation the sign of Jonah.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees.  He reprimanded his disciples for their lack of faith as he reminded them about the multiplication of the loaves of bread.  They should be worried about the Pharisees not food.

What was the role of Peter?  Jesus asked about the Son of Man as the disciples responded.  Then Jesus asked them about himself.  Peter gave a very positive response, so that Jesus rewarded him.  The Messianic secret was tied to the future of Jesus in this conversation between Peter and Jesus.  He would have to take up his cross if wanted to save his life because the Son of Man in his kingdom would be coming soon.

Jesus took three of his apostles up a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared with him.  Peter wanted to set up three tents for them.  A voice from the cloud came as the three apostles adored him.  Jesus asked them to be silent about this.  What was the role of Elijah and John the Baptist?

An epileptic man knelt before Jesus that his disciples were unable to heal.  Jesus then healed him, so that his disciples wondered why they were unable to heal this epileptic?  Jesus spoke about the future of the Son of Man.  Should they pay the Temple tax?  Jesus responded that the son of the king did not pay taxes, but he told Peter to pay them anyway.

Finally, we have the ecclesiastical discourse about who is the greatest.  A child is the greatest because when you welcome a little child, you welcome Jesus.  They were not to cause children to sin.  They were not to tempt people.  It would be better to be maimed and blind than suffer eternal fire.  They were not to despise the little ones.  Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep and fraternal correction.  What were you to do with a sinning brother.  Let him become a gentile, if he does not listen.  Common prayer was important so that they should gather in his name.  How often should they forgive?  The response was the seventy times seven.

Then there was the parable of the unforgiving servant slave.  The master settled accounts with servant slaves.  One owed ten thousand talents, so that the king forgave him his debt.  However, this servant slave would not forgive the debt of his fellow slaves, who were angry.  Thus, this unforgiving slave was tortured.  This parable explanation was simple, forgive your brothers.

The parable of the sower with lost seeds (Mt 13:3-13:7)

“A sower went out to sow.

As he sowed,

Some seeds fell on the path.

The birds came.

They ate them up.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground.

Where they did not have much soil.

They sprang up quickly,

As they had no depth of soil.

When the sun rose,

They were scorched.

As they had no roots,

They withered away.

Other seeds fell upon thorns.

The thorns grew up.

They choked them.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν.

καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν, καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς,

ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας, καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά.

 

This sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:3-7, and Luke, chapter 8:5-7, with Matthew closer to Mark.  The farmer or sower went out to sow his seeds (Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν).  This first section is about the unsuccessful seeds.  The first group of seeds fell on the walking path or road (καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), so that the birds came and ate them up or devoured them (καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά).  The second group of seeds fell on rocky ground (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη).  They did not have much soil (ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν).  They sprang up quickly, even though they did not have much soil depth (καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς).  However, they were scorched and withered under the sun (ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη) because they did not have good roots (καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη).  The final group of unsuccessful seeds fell among the thorns (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας) where they were chocked by the growing thorns (καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά).