Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
Sexagesima Sunday (February 7, 2010)
Luke 8: 4-15
TITLE: “The Seed”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text is the parable of the Sower from Luke chapter 8.
The seed is the Word. That is the point of this parable. The Word goes where it wills. The Sower, God, is reckless in His casting out of the seed. You never know where this seed will end up, where the ground will be rocky, thorny, bare or rich. All we know is that the seed is the Word, and that God is the one who calls the seed to grow and blossom forth.
The seed is the Word. If we were in charge, things would be different. If we were in charge, there would be demographic studies, soil samples, seed advertising, and an incredible amount of work done to insure that the seed isn’t wasted, and that every single seed goes on the best ground. We by nature are seed controllers and managers, not planters. We don’t like to water the seed. We want to eat it, to consume, to take and to get. That’s how the kingdom of this world works. But that is not how the kingdom of God works.
The seed is the Word. The Word of God goes forth. It is His Word, not mine or yours. Sometimes this Word of God crushes us, mats us us flat. Sometimes it feels like we are the seed, being ground into flour. God’s Word of Law shows you who you are in His sight. His Word of Law shows you that you are a sinner, that you need help, that you are beyond reform. In order for God’s Word of promise to take root and grow, you first must be turned over, spaded, and ground up. This process is not pleasant, but the result is marvelous.
Even St. Paul needed some turning over at times. Remember again his words from our Epistle:
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9 ESV)
As long as you think that you are the one in control, you are living a delusion. In our pride and folly so often we become conceited like St. Paul, boastful of our own works, as if they are so wonderful and worthy of attention. But God, who is rich in mercy, sends things in your life to keep you from being overcome by your own pride and self-absorption. These thorns, these messengers of Satan, are there so that you do not think that this is all your work. They show you your weakness. They show you how much out of control you really are. They are a gift from God.
I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of these thorns in the flesh that God sends. They are hard to bear, painful and unruly. The thorns show me things about myself that I don’t want to see. They show me how selfish I am, how prideful and self-centered I have become. Yuk. But the amazing thing about God’s thorns is that they are just for you. God sends these things not so that you will suffer. God isn’t vindictive or cruel or mean. God does not work that way.
God is rich in mercy. God sends these things so that something even more beautiful and powerful can shine forth. God’s grace is made perfect in weakness. God does His best work when you are exhausted, at your wits end, and ready to give up on it all. God’s seed is planted in you as you are crushed. And from that seed will grow forth a great and mighty harvest.
The seed is the Word. God’s plants His seed in you in the holy waters of Baptism, given to our dear brother Mitch today. We don’t know how the seed planted in Mitch today will grow, anymore than we know what you will become. But what we do know is that God’s Word, God’s Seed, God’s Food, always does what He sends it today. You may not understand it, You may not be able to put together all of the pieces of how these things work. You don’t know how God will work, only that He will work.
How do you know this? You know this because God planted His Son into the ground. Remember the words of our Lord:
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:23–25 ESV)
God planted His Son into the ground in His death on the cross. The Seed is the Word made flesh. That Seed, dead and raised again, now lives in you by water and Spirit. That Seed comes to you even now in His Body and Blood on the Altar. Come, eat of His Body and Drink of His blood. Don’t true to figure it out. Don’t try to control or manipulate. Receive what God has come to give you. He will water you, He will take care of you. You are in His Garden. Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep you hearts and minds in true faith to live ever lasting. Amen.