This is Pastor Marnie Leinberger’s sermon from Sunday, November 23, 2014. The scripture is Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. In our service we read from the New Revised Standard Version and from The Message, a modern interpretation by Eugene Peterson. We read both with the hope that our understanding will be enriched.
This is from The Message:
1At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. 2In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. 3Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories. "What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. 4As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. 5Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, 6so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 7Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. 8Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams. 9"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"...18"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. 19When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road. 20"The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. 21But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it. 22"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it. 23"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."
The New Revised Standard Version can be found here.